Some packaging-related trends for 2018 – Part 2


The most important trend in the Indian economy as well as the Indian packaging industry is hardly a trend; it is more or less a fact of life – uncertain and gradual but positive expansion of the industry and the continued evolution in its use of technology and best practices.

Growth, because we still use relatively little packaging and the structured economy of consumer products and organized retail is still in its infancy. Urbanization and the growth of Indians entering the packaging economy are parallel trends. Whether they are buying essential products such as soap, food, clothing or white goods or frills like gadgets, eating out in restaurants, ordering in or going on holidays, Indians are increasingly buying these goods and services with labels, tags, pouches, cartons and other kinds of packaging. In some cases they are looking for biodegradable and reusable packaging or no packaging at all.

Evolution of the packaging industry requires better understanding and use of technology to create packaging that enriches consumers in terms of simplicity of communication and use. It also implies simplicity in sorting at source and disposal of the packaging materials for recycling or composting. In India, landfills are unviable owing to lack of space and because they are a source of pollution and poisonous fires. Both industry and consumers are also aware and sensitive to the fact that those who live near the landfills face severe health issues that can no longer be either hidden or swept under the carpet, or indeed the problem of the indigent people who happen to live near them.

Evolution also implies gradual change and where, eventually, only the fittest and most adaptable survive and thrive. This process is especially slow in our industry because various legal and financial constraints limit rapid consolidation by mergers and acquisitions. Innovation and invention are also slow because of the lack of investment in basic science, research and development in our industry. The industry has little or no interface with basic science research and most of its energy and cash is devoted to immediate application issues.

The single polymer for flexible packaging order

Sustainable packaging will perhaps be the most significant trend in the packaging industry in India in the coming year. For one, some important compliance legislation or government orders such as the use of single polymer based plastic packaging are expected to take effect from 1 April 2018. Although there are perhaps appropriate technology solutions, there will also be considerable resistance to this if it is actually implemented in full and on time.

In speaking with several converters, what emerges is first of all skepticism that the order on the use of single polymers for flexible packaging will be implemented. Secondly, there will have to be informed and intelligent exceptions, especially in food packaging where the value in preventing food waste must greatly outweigh the benefits or difficulties in collection and recycling. Thirdly, there are some converters who say that the single polymer order could be an advantage since they will be able to come up with innovative solutions and sell these to brand owners at a premium.

Separation at source is the only solution

No matter how the single polymer order takes shape, the issue of solid waste collection and recycling is much larger. In 2018, the movement to separate waste at source and then to process it for various cascading uses and even recycling will take root. This is not a new trend and it has been championed by the Centre for Science and Environment for the past two years, who recently signed up more than 20 cities that are cleaning up their act to share their experiences in this massive exercise. This will require waste collectors to be paid more by every household – perhaps Rs. 90 or Rs. 150 per household every month according to the CSE. This money will go to the waste collectors and then the housing societies, the residential colonies and the government will have to come up with the capital expenditure for further sorting, processing and recycling facilities to turn waste into value.

This trend is in alignment with the government’s Swachh Bharat campaign to clean up the country. To again repeat, what Sunita Narain said at the recent forum of cities that segregate waste: “We are a frugal society. We understand that waste can be a resource. We understand circular economy.”

The impact, resilience, and growth of responsible packaging in a wide region are daily chronicled by Packaging South Asia.

A multi-channel B2B publication and digital platform such as Packaging South Asia is always aware of the prospect of new beginnings and renewal. Its 16-year-old print monthly, based in New Delhi, India has demonstrated its commitment to progress and growth. The Indian and Asian packaging industries have shown resilience in the face of ongoing challenges over the past three years.

As we present our publishing plan for 2023, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2023 will reach 6.3%. Packaging industry growth has exceeded GDP growth even when allowing for inflation in the past three years.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 33% over the past three years. With orders in place, we expect another 33% capacity addition from 2023 to 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels have grown similarly. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

Even given the disruptions of supply chains, raw material prices, and the challenge of responsible and sustainable packaging, packaging in all its creative forms and purposes has significant headroom to grow in India and Asia. Our context and coverage engulf the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and further – to waste collection and recycling. We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers.

In an admittedly fragmented and textured terrain, this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing support communication – in our impactful and highly targeted business platform. Tell us what you need. Speak and write to our editorial and advertising teams! For advertisement , for editorial and for subscriptions

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now
unnamed 1


Subscribe to our Newsletter

As 2023 begins and FY 23-24 unfolds, will you support us?

What lies in store for the packaging industry in India and South Asia this coming year? Inflation, disruption of supply chains or environmental regulation? Or the resumption of high rural demand, continued investment and industry consolidation? Whatever happens, Packaging South Asia will be there, providing clarity and independent technical and business information in India and South Asia and around the world. We are a compact Indian organization bringing a window of fair and rigorous technical and business information that the industry can access this year and beyond. Please support us with your advertising and subscriptions, to keep us going and growing.

Thank you.

Previous articleDuPont calls Union Budget 2018 forward looking
Next articleKendall Packaging adds 10c MIRAFLEX II AM Press
Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here