Ministry of Steel puts production of easy open-end components on hold

Food and packaging market to face challenges ahead

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easy open-end
Food and packaging market to face challenges after Ministry of Steel puts production of easy open-end components on hold

Metal packaging industry imports close to 90% of its requirements of the easy open ends/peel-off ends made out of tinplate/tin-free steel from various countries and in a variety of sizes. Easy open end is a component of a tin can which has been introduced a few years back to introduce consumer convenience to handle a can and consume its contents. This is the trend world-wise and a concept that is well established. This is particularly popular in the food and beverage industry which is a major user of tin containers.

Ministry of Steel by putting a condition through Quality Control Order dated 17 July 2020 has mandated that such components should be made out of tinplate which is BIS approved. This requirement has given a big setback to the availability of easy open ends/peel-off ends in India. As currently most of it is being imported from various countries in different sizes. The demand in India for easy open ends/peel-off ends has still not reached a level that justifies the local manufacturing of such ends. The condition of use of BIS tinplate for such components is being said to be impractical as the manufacturer of these ends are located in different countries where BIS approved tinplate is not available, however, the ends are manufactured out of tinplate which complies with relevant International Standard on which even BIS is based.

Looming food and packaging sector crisis

A huge crisis stares at the face of the metal packaging industry and its end-users, especially in the food and beverage industry. Metal Container Manufacturers’ Association (MCMA) highlights the need for urgent action to cushion the consequences it will have on the food and beverage industry. Moreover, since there is a huge demand for packaged food in the country and shortage of easy open ends/peel-off ends will create a huge gap in the supply. 

According to MCMA, it is critical for the Government/Ministry of Steel to either exempt easy open ends (steel product) from the scope of Quality Control Order or alternatively allow use of ISO certified materials in addition to BIS certified material for such ends. This will help not only the metal packaging industry but various small units in the processed foods sector that are using cans for packing their food products. MCMA urges the Ministry of Steel for timely intervention in the matter.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

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As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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