PACKING FOOD, DRUGS AT A BLISTERING PACE
About 80 per cent of cold-form blister packaging is currently imported and the aim is to bring that figure down to zero.
The more than $25 billion Indian packaging industry, growing at a rate of about 10 per cent, is initiating major steps to develop innovative packaging for all segments, but mainly for pharmaceutical and food products, even as the country bids to radically boost its exports.
Need for such steps
- Reducing the import of packaging material: These efforts are aimed at reducing the import of packaging materials and to produce those materials in India so that the country becomes self-reliant and emerges as a key supplier base for the world
- Present situation:Currently, India imports large volumes of packaging material. India imports packaging materials of more than Rs.360 crore per year for packaging of pharmaceutical products alone.
Need for cold-form blister packaging
Developed countries use, and demand, advanced packaging for pharmaceuticals to keep products safe. These are done through cold-form blister packaging which is used extensively around the world.
- Situation in India: Currently, 80 per cent of cold-form blister packaging is imported
In packaging, India has traditionally looked to post-World War II Japan for inspiration. While the industry there derived from western packaging methods, they were integrated with the traditional Japanese concept of packaging called Tsutsumi – which is described as the concept of gentle concealment, which in turn, is a part of the traditional Japanese sense of beauty.
Modified atmosphere packaging
Since India is one of the largest producers of agriculture products, mainly fruits and vegetables, maximum emphasis is now given to increase the shelf life of these products and to reduce wastage through innovative packaging.
- As per rough calculations, up to 40 per cent of such produce gets wasted at farms due to lack of appropriate logistics and a cold chain
- To deal with this problem, the packaging industry has developed modified atmosphere packaging which is based on the respiratory rate of the items
- Gold Medal: The Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) of America, regarded as tops in the field of packaging, awarded India a gold medal, its highest recognition for modified atmosphere packaging because it has extended the shelf life of fruits and flowers being exported from India
Benefits to economy
A higher standard for packaging has advantages for businesses organisations but more importantly, it has potential to bring significant benefits to the country’s economy.
- More than just the basic price: Every day huge amount of raw meat is exported to the Middle Eastern countries and we just get the basic price as value addition is done there. It is the same old story. Cotton was grown in India and sent to England for processing so value addition went there. The hard work was done here. So why can’t we do the value-addition here by processing, packaging and supplying
- The industry also has scope for providing large scale employment
Higher Certification standards in India soon
India has its own packaging standard in the form of BIS certification which is voluntary in nature but a far higher standard, at par with the developed world is in the works and would be made mandatory for packaging of products for the export markets
- Committee formed: The Union Commerce Ministry has constituted an expert committee comprising importers, players from the packaging industry and other experts to review existing standards and formulate new standards which will be implemented within a couple of years.
Capturing a part of global market
Worldwide, packaging is a $975 billion industry and is expected to reach close to $1000 billion this year.
- The Indian packaging industry is estimated at $25 billion and is set to grow to $30 billion by 2020. The ultimate target is to capture a significant portion of the abovementioned global market.
Make in India
Developing indigenous packaging standards coupled with home-grown innovation in this field underlines the vision of “Make-in India”.
Publishes on : 08-Jan-2017 10:39 AM