Food packaging market to face challenges ahead, production on halt

Food packaging market to face challenges ahead, production on halt

The metal packaging business imports over 90% of its easy open ends/peel off ends manufactured from tinplate/tin free steel from a range of nations and in a variety of sizes. The easy open end is a component of a tin can that was added a few years ago to improve consumer ease when handling and consuming a can.

This is the global trend and a well-established concept. This is especially prevalent in the food and beverage business, which makes extensive use of tin containers.

The Ministry of Steel, by a Quality Control Order dated July 17, 2020, has specified that such components be constructed of BIS-approved tinplate. This limitation has hampered the availability of Easy open ends/peel off ends in India significantly. As the majority of it is currently imported in varying proportions from various countries.

In India, demand for easy open/peel off ends has not yet reached a level that justifies local manufacturing. The requirement to use BIS-approved tinplate for such components is impractical because the manufacturers of these ends are located in countries where BIS-approved tinplate is not available; however, the ends are manufactured using tinplate that complies with the relevant International Standard on which BIS is based.

The metal packaging sector and its end customers, particularly in the food and beverage industries, are facing a massive challenge. The Metal Container Manufacturers' Association (MCMA) emphasises the importance of swift action to mitigate the impact on the food and beverage industry. Additionally, the country's high demand for packaged goods combined with a scarcity of simple open/peel off ends would create a massive supply imbalance.

As a result, it is necessary for the government/Ministry of Steel to either exempt easily open ends (steel products) from the scope of the quality control order or to allow for the use of ISO certified materials in addition to BIS certified materials for such ends. This will benefit not only the metal packaging industry, but also several small businesses in the processed foods sector who package their products in cans. The MCMA urges the Ministry of Steel to intervene promptly in this problem.