The packaging industry in India is a blend of both enormous players as well as medium and small enterprises. The major push in the past has come from homegrown demand for sustainable packaging. FMCG companies are presently broadly embracing sustainable packaging innovations to decrease their carbon footprint arising due to packaging and at the same time they are also finding ways to ensure recycling of packaging material which additionally protects the environment.
Packaging is one of the first and a major driver that affects consumer behaviour. An attractive packaging helps products stand out in the jumbled competitive shelves subsequently affecting consumer’s thoughts about a product. Apart from that, a robust packaging gives that much-needed protection to a product and makes handling and transportation simpler. In this way, packaging plays a significant part, especially in the consumer goods industry.
Administrative and public worries around single-use packaging waste is combining with other powerful trends to drive major changes in the consumer packaging industry. Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies and retailers are proactively taking on the onus on themselves to improve both the sustainability of their packaging as well as to fundamentally re-examine their packaging framework.
Before we talk about India’s packaging industry and its market development, we should highlight how this idea advanced. In ancient times, human beings used leaves to cover their food, and maybe that was the start of food packaging. Ever since the need for storing food for the next day’s consumption was felt, the idea of packaging mushroomed that lead to the making of holders made with plant leaves and little tree stems. With advancement in technology and advent of plastic in 1907, this idea of food packaging evolved at faster than the world could ever imagine.
Here are the few factors that are driving the evolution in the packaging industry:
Consumer Awareness: Use of packaging is ingrained in today’s world and its use is on an all-time high with the trends suggesting an even greater volume is going to consumed in the coming decades. Over the past decade, the Indian packaging industry has appreciated strong development, driven by shifts in selection of substrates and expansion of alternative solutions. Headline changes include the increased use of Bagasse, Corn-starch, PLA amongst others as substitutes to plastic to meet consumers’ demand for sustainable. Public awareness of packaging waste leakage, particularly plastic waste, into the environment has increased essentially to a record breaking high over the past 12–24 months. The visceral images of the impacts of ocean/sea plastics pollution have worked up consumer sentiment around the world.
Administrative Actions: Governments, all around the world, have responded to public concerns regarding packaging waste, particularly single-use packaging waste, and are executing guidelines to both minimize environmental waste and improve waste management processes. in Asia, Thailand and India recently announced a nationwide ban on single-use plastic bags at major stores to reduce plastic leakage into the environment. India has shelved plans for a full ban of single-use plastics for now but is pushing for increased awareness campaigns about the plastic waste and more collection points to improve collection and curb waste. China has prohibited imports of plastics waste and approved legislation to ban/reduce single-use plastics, increase recycling, recovery, and recirculation of used plastics.
Challenges & Sustainable Outlook: While using plastic for over a century we neglected its impact on our environment, and our health. More than 70 percent of the wrappers that get discarded and disposed of are single-use plastics that either accumulate on our ocean beds, keep piling up on the ‘landfill mountains’, contribute to carbon gas emissions or are found in the guts of numerous of our co-habitants. This needs to change. During this time, sustainable packaging is the only solution. One cannot deny that there will be a significant impact on packaging converters and their value chain, which could threaten the survival of many in the industry. However, for packaging converters with the right focus and a yearning for innovation could benefit from this shift and offer new partnership opportunities to support consumer demand in revising their packaging portfolios. Going forward, converters will have to proactively embrace sustainability, as consumer demands and regulatory requirements multiply.