Second-tier cities become centre of packaging activity
The rise in organised retailing in India’s second-tier cities made for a competitive packaging market in 2008. Companies like Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Procter & Gamble India Ltd, Nestlé India Ltd, ITC Ltd, Coca-Cola India Ltd, PepsiCo India Ltd and Dabur India Ltd became very aggressive during the review period, and packaging became a big tool for launching new, India-specific products in different shapes and sizes. The review period witnessed a flux of partnerships and joint ventures, with many foreign packaging players entering the scene to gain a slice of the large pie. Alcan Packaging- part of Rio Tinto Alcan, Klockner Pentaplast Group (KP) - a German-based packaging solutions provider, Polish firm Can Pak and Bosch Packaging either announced new investments or disclosed plans for the expansion of their existing investments during the review period.
Environmental concerns continue to hamper polymer-based packaging growth
Environmental concerns are fast catching the attention of all the stake holders in the Indian packaging industry. The expansion of packaging as a profitable industry in India, dragged along by that of the retail and FMCG sectors, has brought with it environmental concerns. Organizations such as the Indian Centre for Plastics in the Environment were actively seen promoting awareness in this regard in order to promote the packaging industry and make people aware of the real concerns about the environment. The centre is the accredited body of The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) and undertook continuous awareness programs by publishing information on waste management materials, statistics, as well as going in to school and colleges and teaching people about the correct usage of polymer. Corporations were also seen to be making efforts to adapt greener technologies.
Cost advantages make India a preferred packaging export hub
Due to lower manufacturing costs, India is fast becoming a preferred hub for packaging production. The Indian packaging industry has made a mark with its exports that comprise flattened cans, printed sheets and components, crown cork, lug caps, plastic film laminates, craft paper, paper board and packaging machinery, while the imports include tinplate, lacquers, coating and lining compounds. In India, the fastest growing packaging segments are laminates and flexible packaging, especially PET and woven sacks. On the global scene ruled by the World Trade Organisation, it is imperative for India to upgrade its packaging standards through innovative technologies in order to be on a par with the world’s best practice. Packaging labels must inform consumers about the ingredients of the product, the nutritional value, and the manufacturing and expiry dates of the products; something which is being made mandatory by the government. Almost all the major players were seen to expand their existing capabilities to tap into the fast growing export market for Indian packaging products.