India set for food packaging revolution

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Packaging India Retailing

Food packaging in India will undergo huge changes in the next five years as companies increasingly use it as an important vehicle for product differentiation, said a report from Datamonitor.

Advanced packing technologies such as aseptic packaging and retort pouches, coupled with more sophisticated graphics will characterise a “multi-dimensional shift” ​in the sector by 2015, said the industry analysts in its report Innovations in Packaging - Emerging Opportunities in the Indian Food Industry.

Packaging trends

Demographic and food consumption changes in Indian society means that consumers are turning in increasing numbers to packaged and ready-to-eat foods. The group said a recent analysis had revealed the emergence of four major trends driving packaging innovation in the sub-continent: convenience of usage, freshness and improved shelf life, sustainability, and packaging as a tool to position and promote the brand.

While advance packaging solutions exist in India, they have yet to become widely established. The study said the country is currently at a mid-point evolutionary stage of packaging development when compared to more mature economies in the US and Europe. The level of sophistication in food packaging varies across sectors and products, and has largely been driven by innovation from Western manufacturers to develop “opportunities to differentiate their merchandise from the competitors through packaging”, ​said the report.

“However, with the consistent rise in the adoption of ready to eat/drink products amongst Indian consumers, it is expected to be only a matter of time before India's Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) market would be filled with products using advanced packaging technologies, primarily aimed at enhancing the shelf life of the products and to offer additional convenience to the consumers in terms of storage, consumption and portioning”,​ said Pinaki Mukherjee, lead consumer consultant at Datamonitor. "Traditionally, product packaging has not been seen as a vehicle to promote the brand - while it is changing now.”

The rise in the prominence of packaged goods has surfaced along with what the report calls the Great Indian Retail Revolution. It contends the organised retail industry in India “is at the threshold of mass adoption”.

“Consumer packaged good industry has had many reasons to celebrate this revolution as packaged food rapidly replaced loose staples and locally-produced eatables,”​ it adds

Related topics Processing & packaging

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