Demand for packaging to grow rapidly


The packaging industry in India is a mix of both organised medium to large players as well very small players. Domestic demand for packaging is expected to grow rapidly in coming years. FMCG companies are now widely adopting sustainable packaging technologies to reduce the cost of packaging as well as taking steps to ensure recycling of packaging material which also protects the environment.


India is the second largest producer of food in the world and one of the major consumers of packaged foods and beverages. Increased consumer awareness and growth of the processed food and beverages industry are the major factors for a major shift from unpackaged vending to packaged forms of sale. Some other factors like exposure to new and improved packaging methods, relaxation in food and beverage import norms, increasing modern retail outlets and changing consumer preferences have all resulted in brand owners recognising the need for advanced packaging solutions at economical cost. According to Devesh Pandey, head, food Packaging & Dispatch, Amul India “Packaging has served the Indian economy by lengthening and also preserving the shelf life of products ranging from milk and biscuits, processes and semi-processed foods, edible oil etc.”




According to a report by MCG, “The Indian consumer packaging market is estimated at around Rs 685 billion in 2015-16 and is forecast to reach Rs 1,170 billion by 2020-21, at an annual growth rate of 11.3%. The packaging industry in India is valued at Rs 1,270 billion (2015-16). Within the industry, with a 54 per cent market share, consumer packaging is ahead of its bulk packaging counterpart.” According to a report by PwC, “The packaging industry has exhibited muted growth over the last year, with a slowdown in industrial growth and drop in consumer demand. However, respondents are positive about growth in the next 12 months. They consider India’s low per capita packaging consumption vis-à-vis that of developed economies, increasing disposable incomes, growth in enduse industries—especially packaged food—and a shift towards organised markets as the key growth factors.” The report also says, “The outlook for new capital investment is also positive as most companies plan to invest in new manufacturing facilities to cater to increased demand. Going forward, packaging companies plan to focus on driving revenue and profitability through an emphasis on exports, improved customer service and increased production efficiencies. Further, with the implementation of GST from 1 July 2017, the packaging industry will witness higher growth, as demand across key end user industries is likely to increase.” Research and Market report says, “During the period 2016-2021, the Soft Drinks and Food industries will be the highest packaging market share gainers (by units) with share growth of 3.4% and 1.3% respectively. The growing organized retail sector has been a significant driver of the growth of the Food and Beverage industries, which in turn drives the growth of Indian packaging industry. In addition, innovations in the packaging industry, such as the development of lighter packaging with better barrier properties, add to the growth of packaging industry. In terms of packaging material, Glass and Rigid Plastics will be among the major share gainers, with share growth of 0.7% and 0.6% respectively during 2016-2021.”




Major change in consumer lifestyles, large retail groups and food service industries have started using highly competitive mix of marketing and trading strategies. Number of methodologies of packaging technology for food has developed over the years. Active packaging, intelligent packaging and nanotechnology are some of the newly introduced concepts in the market. According to Harshvardhan Agrawal, Co-Founder, YUH foods, “Packaging is the most important aspect of your product design. There have been a lot of technological advancements in the industry but still innovation is the need of the hour.




It is an innovative packaging technology that involves incorporation of certain additives into packaging film or within packaging containers by which package, product and environment interact to prolong shelf life or enhance safety or sensory properties as well maintain the quality of the food product.




This type of packaging is capable of carrying out intelligent functions (Sensing, detecting, tracing, recording and communicating) to facilitate decision making to extend shelf life, improve quality, enhance safety, provide information and warn about possible problems.




The ideal packaging material should not possess any environmental issues and should have recycling potential. Eco-friendly packaging can play a key role in food waste avoidance to protect human health, environment and in preserving natural resources. Eco-friendly packaging materials have some extremely essential qualities like reduce, recycle, renew, reuse and repurpose.




Custom designed film, foil and paper based laminate for primary packaging of products in solid, liquid or powder form in consumer size packs comes under this category. From paper to cellophane plastic wrappers to aluminium foil to metalized and coextruded foils: the change has been quite rapid and new features are being built into the packaging material to add value for its customers. Advancement in technology has led to the propagation of metalized film (laminate and coextrusion based) packaging material that combines the benefits of both metals and plastics. Apart from being more cost effective, it offers versatility in the packaging material with improved protection against light, water, moisture and gases thereby increasing the aroma and the shelf life of the products. The metallic base allows for high gloss and eye-catching aesthetic packaging “The food sector uses a wide range of package material in various shapes and sizes. Flexible packaging accounted for 29% of the total food & beverage packaging sector, followed by rigid plastics at 26%. Globally, the industry has witnessed considerable new trends moving from simple pre-packaging to vacuumisation & gas-flushing, retort and aseptic systems, CAP/MAP, smart and intelligent packaging, and barcoding. However, in India value added packaging of food and beverage is relatively small and is yet to make deep inroads”, according to MCG report.




Reduction in material usage without compromising on product protection and re-use of packaging are the two main factors that are making sustainable packaging duly recognised among all stakeholders. FMCG companies are now widely adopting sustainable packaging technologies to reduce the cost of packaging as well as taking steps to ensure recycling of packaging material which also protects the environment. Some major initiatives in sustainable packaging taken by FMCG companies in India: Marico reduced its Parachute oil bottle to be 7% lighter and its cap to be 2% lighter compared to the nearest benchmark Coco Cola has switched to 10% sugar-based ethanol to create plastic bottles which increases the use of renewable sources and reduces the carbon footprint.


HUL has achieved 100% zero non-hazardous waste to landfill sites across 30 factories in India; HUL is also trying to create market value for discarded sachets and lighter plastic packaging so ragpickers find incentive to collect them off the streets Hindustan Unilever and Bharati Retail have launched the “Go Recycle” initiative in the NCR region which promotes plastic recycling among consumers Dabur and Tetra-Pak India have come together to mobilize ragpickers to collect discarded packaging of food products. Nanotechnology is also gaining importance in the Indian food packaging industry. A Nano composite material not only improve the mechanical strength, reduce weight, increases resistance to heat and enhance barrier properties of the packaged product but also increases the overall shelf life of the product. “Technology, price, delivery, and performance standards are some of the determining factors that for packaging equipment and decides whether it can be sold in the Indian market. There is an intense competition in the end-user market, the cost of equipment and low running cost remain one of the primary factors that influence the sale of the packaging equipment and that’s why upgrading would be another extremely important factor in the buying decision of Indian end-users”, added Pandey.




Although food packaging sector in India has emerged as a high growth and high profit sector due to its immense potential for value addition, still the industry is hugely dependent on imports. Also, initiatives have been taken by the government and food industry towards decreasing the wastage and increasing the shelf life of products, their proper implementation is still required.




100% FDI enabled in food processing through FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board), Support to industry to boost indigenous production and technology like Isotropic Polyester Film and use of Nanotechnology in Packaging are some of the key initiatives by Government. According to FSSAI, “The issue of assessment of health risks of food packaging materials (FPMs) represents an ongoing challenge. This is due to the fact that FPMs have the potential to release and subsequent transfer of components into the food. This transfer then can lead to an exposure of the consumer to those components and/or their reaction products.” Keeping this in mind, FSSAI has taken up R&D project on “Study of the Chemical containments in Food from Packaging Materials” in association with National Test House (NTH) and Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP).




The packaging industry in India is a mix of both organised medium to large players as well very small players. Domestic demand for packaging is expected to grow rapidly in coming years. Recognising this trend, the industry needs to adopt more scientific and functional packaging. This can make the industry fall in line with Make in India programme. 



» Growth in consumer packaged goods

» Growth of organised retail

» Increasing use of Flexible Packaging

» Growth in the usage of Metal Packaging

» Usage of glass packaging for Beverages

» Increasing usage of Tetrapacks for diary and juice products

» Coding and marking

» Aseptic Packaging

» Usage of recyclable packaging material

» Vacuum Packaging

» Modified Atmosphere Packaging

» Aerosol packaging

» Skin Packaging

» Shrink and Stretch Packaging

» Temper evident Packaging 




» Specialty film and laminates

» Multi-layer films

» Multi-layer blow molded containers

» Injection molded containers

» Roto molded containers

» Bulk containers

» Thin-wall glass containers

» Thin-wall metal containers

» Two piece metal containers

» Aluminum containers




» Rapid changes in technology

» Shortage and Rising cost of raw material

» Costly Skilled Manpower

» Rising input costs

» Highly inadequate credit flow

» Lack of Market Access & Advanced technology

» Lack of exposure to Best Management and Manufacturing Practices

» Lack of 100% commitment to the quality standards

» Lack of Marketing, Distribution and Branding

» Non-availability of skilled man-power


Source: Packaging Industry Association of India (PIAI)

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