In the vibrant tapestry of India’s economy, one industry stands out like a beacon of innovation and growth – the packaging sector.

With a rich history and a promising future, the Indian packaging industry has evolved into a dynamic powerhouse, offering boundless opportunities for both domestic and foreign investors.

GlobalData’s intelligence values the India packaging market size at 413 billion units in 2022. The market is anticipated to register a CAGR of more than 6% by 2027. 

A two-sided coin: rigid vs. flexible packaging

At the heart of this thriving industry is a fascinating division between rigid and flexible packaging.

This classification is based on the materials used, and it’s fascinating to note that flexible packaging claims the lion’s share, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the entire sector. This fact alone underscores the versatility and adaptability of the Indian packaging industry.

The primary driver behind this impressive dominance is the food processing sector, which gobbles up a staggering 50% of flexible packaging products.

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The consumer’s love for convenience and the industry’s need for efficient packaging solutions have forged a mutually beneficial relationship. From snacks to staples, flexible packaging has become the cornerstone of modern food preservation and presentation.

Pharmaceutical packaging: a pillar of growth

While the food sector leads the charge, there’s another sector quietly rising in prominence – pharmaceutical packaging.

According to GlobalData estimates, the global pharmaceutical packaging market will grow from $133.3bn in 2023 to $160.3bn in 2026. India is a market within the APAC region with the presence of leading packaging manufacturers and other supporting vendors of the value chain.

This impressive growth can also be attributed to India’s burgeoning healthcare industry, which is attracting both domestic and international players.

Gateway to India: exporting packaging equipment and products

For foreign companies looking to venture into the Indian packaging industry, there’s a strategic gateway – exporting packaging equipment and products to the Indian market.

This initial step allows companies to dip their toes in the sector’s waters, establish a customer base, and analyse the geographies where demand and business feasibility are at their highest.

This approach serves as a valuable reconnaissance mission, helping foreign companies develop a comprehensive understanding of the Indian market.

Armed with insights and knowledge, they can then take the next significant leap – setting up operations within India itself.

Collaboration and innovation: forging strategic partnerships

Entering the Indian market is no small feat, but it becomes more manageable and rewarding when foreign companies choose to collaborate. One effective way is by entering into strategic partnerships with Indian entities or establishing their own subsidiaries.

In recent years the Indian subsidiaries of major companies like Amazon and PepsiCo have announced packaging initiatives, indicating that the country provides a space for development and progression.

Strategic alliances open doors to established distribution networks and marketing ecosystems, allowing businesses to expand their reach rapidly. Furthermore, these partnerships facilitate the transfer of cutting-edge technology, fostering innovation and propelling the Indian packaging industry forward.

A land of promise

In the world of packaging, India shines as a land of promise, where opportunities are as vast as the country itself. The flexible packaging sector, driven by the food processing industry, continues to flourish, while pharmaceutical packaging emerges as a new frontier of growth.

For foreign companies seeking to tap into this bustling industry, the path is clear – export, collaborate, innovate, and prosper. By navigating these avenues strategically, businesses can not only establish a foothold but also contribute to the ongoing transformation and modernisation of the Indian packaging sector.

In the grand tapestry of India’s economic landscape, the packaging industry is a colourful thread that promises to weave a brighter future for all who embrace its potential.

As the nation marches forward, the packaging sector stands tall, ready to shape the future one package at a time.