INDIA – A plastic straws ban which is expected to take effect on July 1 in India is sending shockwaves across the juice and beverage industries with players expressing fears that it might disrupt sales.
According to a report by ET retail, the ban will affect items such as small packs of juices and dairy products which normally have straws attached to them.
Hugely popular for affordable rates that range from 5 rupees to 30 rupees, or the equivalent of 7 U.S. cents to 40 U.S. cents, the small packs are part of India’s much bigger market for juice and milk products.
These products reportedly earn US$790 million in annual sales in India and industry players have been pushing the government in Delhi to exempt them from the ban.
Action Alliance for Recycling Beverage Cartons, which groups PepsiCo, Coca-Cola Co, India’s Parle Agro, Dabur and milk firms, has been at the forefront of the exemption campaign.
Pepsi’s Tropicana and Dabur’s Real fruit juices, along with Coca-Cola’s Maaza and Parle Agro’s Frooti mango drinks are among the beverages sold in the small pack format that comes with straws for on-the-go consumption.
“We are worried as this comes during peak demand season,” said Praveen Aggarwal, chief executive of an industry group, AARC, referring to India’s sweltering summer temperatures.
The government has however remained adamant that the ban will take effect with no exemptions as it is aimed at stamping out single-use plastic trash that chokes rivers and drains.
In an April 6 memo the India’s ministry of Environment insisted that the industry “should move towards the uptake of alternatives”.
Amul dairy group recently announced that it is bracing for disruptions and higher input costs for some products from July when the government’s ban on plastic straws kicks in.
Amul has not worked out any practical solution to replace the tiny plastic straws and the paper variant is not feasible, said R. S. Sodhi, Amul’s managing director.
“The intention of the government is good … (but) the straws are not even 0.1% of total plastic consumption,” Sodhi told Reuters. “The entire industry will be impacted.”
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