India is envisaged to be one among the top ten packaging consumers by 2016 with the demand set to reach $24 billion. Food packaging is expected to be a major growth driver in the near future for polymer consumption as the retail sector flourishes.
Packaging accounts for 48% of all commodity polymer consumption and is growing at 15% annually, gargantuan by all standards. Key application areas include multilayer films, BOPP films, shrink and stretch wraps, thin wall moulding, thermoforming and blow moulded containers. Within packaging, food packaging comes a distinct first. Food packaging is expected to be a major growth driver for polymer consumption as the retail sector flourishes.
Focusing on the increased use of plastics in the healthy and safe packaging of food, Prabuddha Dasgupta one of the most respectable packaging professional said, "In the current business environment, the key areas of growth are agriculture, retail, food processing, medicines and plastic packaging plays a vital role in ensuring quality products reach the consumer. Plastics are perhaps the most versatile group of materials used in packaging. However, in international markets or at duty free shops overseas and in India as well, Indian packaged food is very difficult to find on shelves; the primary reason being, lack of high quality of packaging solutions. With the increased use of technology which has provided high quality and safe plastic for various applications in the Indian food industry, the industry will become more competitive and will gain cost effectiveness ".
Sharing his thoughts, M. Maheshwar Rao, Commissioner for Industrial Development & Director of Industries & Commerce- Department of Industries & Commerce - Government of Karnataka, said “Backed by a huge workforce of economical yet skilled manpower; a high emphasis on quality as well as value for money; and a favourable regulatory environment, India's plastic processing sector is surging. The industry has surplus processing capability to cater to more business and is constantly upgrading itself on technology and automisation front to keep pace with the developed nations. India - the globe's most lucrative business destination is growing bigger by the day. Plastics - as the key material for man's progress today - will be a key beneficiary of this tremendous growth surge.”
Rao further said, "In line with the policies of Government of India, Government of Karnataka is establishing two Plastic parks - one in Bangalore and one in Dharwad".
Elaborating this view, J.R. Shah, Chairman National Executive Council, Plastindia Foundation, said, “With rising demand for innovative solution in food packaging in India, the multibillion plastic packaging industry is scaling new heights. However, in order to become more competitive in global markets, Indian food packaging industry heavily relies on plastic applications in food industry. With the main objective of Plastindia Foundation being the promotion, development and growth of the Indian Plastics Industry in India, we have initiated steps to be the driving force for the MSME’s by facilitation, counseling and advising them on the processes and steps to avail of the Technology Upgradation Fund offered by the Government of India". He continued by stating, “This will be an eye-opener to many and emphasize India’s position as the world’s sourcing hub for plastics finished products”.