India’s largest dairy conglomerate Amul has written to the government urging it to delay a planned ban on small plastic straws, saying the move would have a “negative impact” on farmers and their consumption of milk, the world’s largest producer.
Amul made its appeal on May 28 in a letter reviewed by Reuters, which was sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office on July 1, before banning straws packed with juice and small packs of dairy products, Market estimated by an industry body. be worth $790 million. Amul sells billions of small dairy cartons each year with plastic straws.
The decision has rattled global beverage majors including Amul and PepsiCo Inc and Coca-Cola, especially after the government refused to change its stance and asked the companies to switch to alternative straws, Reuters previously reported.
In its letter, signed by managing director RS Sodhi, the $8 billion Amul Group said straws help boost milk consumption, and called for a ban – Mr Modi’s stamp on polluting, single-use plastics Part of the campaign to impose – to postpone for a year.
Mr Sodhi wrote that the delay would bring “great relief and benefit” to 10 crore dairy farmers who “protect our food security in terms of milk and milk products”.
Mr Modi’s office did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.
A source familiar with the government’s thinking previously told Reuters that the straw was a “low utility product” that should be replaced with paper straws or packs with a redesigned spout.
Mr Sodhi declined to comment on his letter, but said Amul may have to sell packs without straws once the ban comes into force from July 1.
Priced between Rs 5 and Rs 30 (7-40 US cents), small beverage packs containing juice and milk products are extremely popular in India and share a large market for such beverages.
Located in Gujarat, Modi’s home state in western India, Amul is also popular for its plastic pouches containing milk, cheese and chocolate.
Pepsi’s Tropicana juice, as well as Coca-Cola’s Mazza and Parle Agro’s Fruity Mango drink, are also among the top-selling beverages. Industry estimates show that 6 billion such packs are sold in India every year.
Praveen Aggarwal of Action Alliance for Recycling Beverage Carton, which represents beverage majors, said companies are looking at importing paper straws from China, Indonesia and other countries in light of the upcoming ban.
“There will be disturbances,” he said.
A person with direct knowledge of the matter said that Parle has also written a letter to the Indian government, stating that there was not enough local production of the alternative straw, and that imported paper and biodegradable variants were about 250 percent more expensive.
Shauna Chauhan, chief executive of Parle Agro, said the company has started importing paper straws for now, but it is not sustainable. “The economics just don’t match for a product of Rs 10,” she said.
Pepsi and Coca-Cola declined to comment.