Packaging is the fifth largest sector in India’s economy and is one of the highest growth sectors in the country. According to the Packaging Industry Association of India (PIAI), the sector is growing at 22% to 25% per annum.

Future of packaging industry in India: 2020 growth

A study by trade and commerce trade association Assocham and global consulting firm EY revealed that the packaging industry in India is anticipated to reach $73.6bn by the 2020 financial year (FY2020), due to India’s growing population and income levels.

 

Pharmaceutical packaging

The global pharmaceutical packaging market has been predicted to double to $149bn in a decade, with India one of the markets currently producing a large quantity of plastic pharmaceutical packaging. Large multinational pharma packaging companies, such as Amcor, Huhtamaki, West Pharma and SGD Pharma, along with Indian companies, including UFlex and EsselPropack, lead the way within the country’s pharma packaging market.

One pharmaceutical challenge India faces is its heavily reliance on plastic packaging, which has triggered discussions on recycling and the lack of consumer knowledge in sustainability.

In addition, India’s pharmaceutical packaging market is working towards creating innovative features like digital timers and alarms on pill bottles, dose monitoring and innovative mechanised blister packs.

 

Retail packaging

The e-commerce retail packaging sector has grown to 65 million monthly unique visitors, accumulating an annual increase of 55%. India’s e-commerce revenue is predicted to be the highest rate in the world, growing at an annual rate of 51% and increasing to $120bn in 2020 from $30bn in 2016, according to an ASSOCHAM-Forrester report.

India’s e-commerce retail market faces an increasing demand for rigid packaging, such as corrugated boxes and cartons due to the packaging’s firm structure, preventing potential damage against India’s poor road infrastructure. The rigid packaging category makes up 80% of the country’s overall packaging market.

 

Food and beverage packaging

In recent years, India has seen sustainable packaging growth due to the increase of packaged food consumption and awareness, and demand for quality products. Consumer awareness surrounding packaged food, specifically packaged food deliveries, has heightened. Earlier this year, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) announced new packaging regulations to replace the former 2011 provisions. The new regulations comprise of a migration limit of 60mg/kg or 10mg/dm2 and migration limits for specific contaminates in plastic packaging materials. Recycled plastics and newspaper used for food packaging have also been banned. New labelling regulations were also revised.

Recently, the country’s online food ordering company Zomato introduced 100% tamper-proof packaging after a leaked video revealed a Zomato delivery driver opening and consuming customer food orders.

In terms of India’s beverage packaging, materials such as glass and rigid plastics account for 70% of the total packaging market. PET is the material most used to package water, accounting for around 55% of India’s packaged water sector.

Projected to reach a CAGR of 4.17% to $142.2bn by 2023, it is predicted that the nation will see continued demand for PET bottles, along with a new demand for liquid packaging cartons due to their longer shelf life and ease in transportation.