The bakery industry in India is contemplating an alternative packaging material to replace the existing plastic or polypropylene, which has been in use for decades.

The industry plans to find an alternative owing to the burning discussions that are going on pertaining to polythene.

Alternatives such as old paper bags and multilayer packaging have been considered by the government, but their feasibility has been questioned for the low margin industry.

According to an industry expert, it would be a costly affair for the small and medium players operating in the bakery segment to shift to upgraded biodegradable material from polythene.

Monika Rawat of the Confederation of Indian Food Traders Industries said plastic is cost-efficient for the bakery industry, and to make the material biodegradable would vastly increase costs for the industry.

"The bakery products are perishable and mostly consumed in a day or two, particularly the bread items. Therefore polythene suits the need but as we’re progressing towards shunning it, there is a need to update ourselves about the modern methodology of packing our bakery products," Rawat said.

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The additives to make plastic biodegradable are not manufactured in the country but are imported, reported.

Trials are going on in the country regarding the use of multilayer packaging for the industry, but the cost-effectiveness will be the decisive factor.

In order to implement the plan, the packaging technology and equipment also need to be upgraded, in addition to the material.

Image: The Indian bakery industry plans to find an alternative to plastic packaging. Photo: Courtesy of Sura Nualpradid.