German printing ink major Siegwerk is upbeat on India and plans to further expand its facility to cater to the growing market.

In India, the company manufacturers and supplies its products made at a facility in Bhiwadi on the Delhi-Jaipur highway.

The company, which provides inks to the flexible packaging products in the country, is making a case for toluene-free (an aromatic hydrocarbon derivative) inks to keep the harmful affects of this from various stakeholders in the industry from making inks to its usage in flexible packaging.

Ashish Pradhan, Chief Executive Officer, said the voluntary India standards IS 15495:2004 relating to “Printing Ink for food packaging –Code of Practice” prescribes guidelines for printing inks for use on food packages.

“As a mater of policy, at Siegwerk, with revenues of over €1 billion, we decided to be away for toluene-based inks used in flexible packaging material. This meant, we have stayed away from nearly 85 per cent of the total addressable market in India,” he told BusinessLine .

Safety standards

From an industry perspective, in India, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety.

The food regulator along with the Bureau of Indian Standards oversee the regulatory aspects of safety in the inks used.

“In recent times, we have taken up the issue with these bodies and hope that they consider doing away with inks which have toluene-based ingredients. This will be both good for the industry and also people who manufacture them,” he said.

As per the voluntary standards, printing inks on direct food packaging such as wrappings that are applied on the outside of the food wrapper, have to comply with the norms and conform to the exclusion list of toxic substances.

Referring to the potential in the Indian market, he said the per capita consumption is about one-15th of developed markets and this is poised to grow over the years, he said.