Sustainable Packaging Innovations Transform India's Market

By Deepender Singh April 23, 2024

As per the Invest India Report, the Indian green packaging market is expected to witness a robust growth rate (CAGR) of 7.24 percent during 2023-2028

Sustainable Packaging Innovations Transform India's Market

In today’s world, sustainable packaging has become a priority for brands and consumers to meet the pressing needs of the industry. Environmental-friendly packaging includes materials and designs that support environmental sustainability throughout their lifecycle. This includes the use of renewable, recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable materials, as well as packaging systems that minimise material usage and optimise transportation efficiency.

As per the Invest India Report, the Indian green packaging market is expected to witness a robust growth rate (CAGR) of 7.24 percent during 2023-2028. Especially in the food and beverage industry, sustainable packaging has gone beyond being just an option. It has become inevitable. Government regulations, changing consumer preferences, and shifting market norms continue to necessitate companies adopting sustainable packaging techniques to reduce their environmental footprint.

The ultimate goal of environmentally friendly packaging is to ensure the long-term preservation of human life while protecting the global ecosystem. Utilising renewable energy sources and using recycled or renewable materials, sustainable packaging significantly reduces resource waste and provides efficient use of materials with minimal impact on the environment from production to disposal. Forces driving the shift to sustainable packaging include changing regulations, informed consumer preferences, technological advancements, shifting purchasing behaviours, and heightened environmental concerns. These trends have led beverage companies to recommit to sustainability, reducing their carbon footprint, increasing recycling, and establishing a plastic-free environment.

Responding to consumer demand for premium products, the alcohol and non-alcoholic beverage industry is witnessing a shift towards healthier products, enticing flavours, and attractive packaging, with a focus on sustainable packaging as well. Nearly a quarter of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging consumption is devoted to the beverage industry. Aluminium beverage cans are the most recyclable drink pack in the world, and with an average recycling rate of 69 percent, they can be endlessly recycled without any loss of quality. The beverage can is already well-positioned in the beverage industry and is a good initiative. Due to their size and weight, they effectively reduce CO2 emissions during transportation, encourage trials due to their smaller size, and are also a portable alternative for consumers.

The fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry has also embraced sustainability, especially in packaging. FMCG companies are rethinking packaging to use more efficient materials and reduce waste. Lightweight materials, space-saving packaging, and innovations are being adopted to produce higher-quality products and reduce carbon footprints and operating costs.

Moreover, adopting eco-friendly packaging gives FMCG companies a competitive advantage in the market. As consumers become more environmentally conscious, they gravitate towards products that align with their values. By offering sustainable packaging, companies can attract environmentally conscious consumers, leading to brand loyalty and long-term success.

In addition to using recycled materials, FMCG companies are also exploring alternative packaging options that help achieve the goal of sustainable growth.

1. Biodegradable and Compostable Materials: Biodegradable materials such as PLA (polylactic acid) and PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates) are derived from

renewable resources such as cornflour or sugarcane, and they break down naturally over time, reducing the environmental impact of packaging waste. Compostable materials, on the other hand, are designed to decompose in a composting environment, turning into nutrient-rich soil that can be used to nourish plants.

2. Recyclable Packaging: FMCG companies are focusing on improving the recyclability of packaging materials by using mono-materials or easily separable materials. This reduces waste sent to landfills and promotes a circular economy.

3. Smart Packaging: Integration of smart technologies like RFID tags and QR codes provides consumers with valuable information about product origin and usage instructions, reducing food waste and promoting sustainable consumption practices.

4. Reusable Packaging: Durable and refillable packaging designs encourage consumers to adopt more sustainable habits. Solutions include refillable containers, deposit-return systems, and packaging rental or subscription services, minimizing waste and resource consumption.

The shift towards environmentally friendly packaging is driven not only by consumer demand but also by regulatory pressures and industry. Governments worldwide are implementing programmes aimed at reducing plastic waste and promoting sustainable packaging. Industry associations also develop guidelines and standards, empowering companies to shift to sustainable packaging solutions.

Other strategies, such as the use of biodegradable composting materials, improving recycling capacity, using smart packaging technology and edible packaging materials the adoption of reuse solutions, are driving further acceptance of sustainable packaging

India has made great strides in addressing environmental concerns through sustainable packaging solutions. By fostering collaboration between government, industry, and consumers, India aims to significantly reduce food waste and achieve a sustainable future.

In today’s environmentally conscious world, sustainable packaging plays an important role in reducing the adverse effects of packaging on the environment. It reduces waste, lowers carbon footprints, and enhances customer loyalty. As India and the global community strive to meet sustainability goals, the adoption of eco-friendly packaging will continue to transform the F&B landscape and pave the way for a greener, more sustainable future.

(Deepender Singh is the Co-Founder of Swizzle.)