Metal packaging industry imports close to 90% of its requirements of the easy open ends/peel-off ends made out of tinplate/tin-free steel from various countries and in a variety of sizes. Easy open end is a component of a tin can which has been introduced a few years back to introduce consumer convenience to handle a can and consume its contents. This is the trend world-wise and a concept that is well established. This is particularly popular in the food and beverage industry which is a major user of tin containers.
Ministry of Steel by putting a condition through Quality Control Order dated 17 July 2020 has mandated that such components should be made out of tinplate which is BIS approved. This requirement has given a big setback to the availability of easy open ends/peel-off ends in India. As currently most of it is being imported from various countries in different sizes. The demand in India for easy open ends/peel-off ends has still not reached a level that justifies the local manufacturing of such ends. The condition of use of BIS tinplate for such components is being said to be impractical as the manufacturer of these ends are located in different countries where BIS approved tinplate is not available, however, the ends are manufactured out of tinplate which complies with relevant International Standard on which even BIS is based.
Looming food and packaging sector crisis
A huge crisis stares at the face of the metal packaging industry and its end-users, especially in the food and beverage industry. Metal Container Manufacturers’ Association (MCMA) highlights the need for urgent action to cushion the consequences it will have on the food and beverage industry. Moreover, since there is a huge demand for packaged food in the country and shortage of easy open ends/peel-off ends will create a huge gap in the supply.
According to MCMA, it is critical for the Government/Ministry of Steel to either exempt easy open ends (steel product) from the scope of Quality Control Order or alternatively allow use of ISO certified materials in addition to BIS certified material for such ends. This will help not only the metal packaging industry but various small units in the processed foods sector that are using cans for packing their food products. MCMA urges the Ministry of Steel for timely intervention in the matter.