India’s kitchenware segment is enjoying significant growth despite fierce competition from Chinese imports. Jindal Stainless, India’s largest stainless steel manufacturing group, is set to install enhanced capacities to serve growing demands from the industry.
^ A selection of pots and pans
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a Kitchenware Customers’ Meet organized by the company, Head of Sales at Jindal Stainless Mr. Vijay Sharma said, “We led the kitchenware industry with the introduction of 200 series in late 70’s and now intend to further transform the industry through the coil route. With this, we will raise the overall quality standards in the industry, reach out to retail customers with branded products, boost sector productivity by enabling automation, increase the share of organized segment in the industry, and thereby grow the contribution to state exchequer through greater GST compliance. We are in the process of installing infrastructure and will have dedicated capacities to meet the enhanced quality and quantity requirements. We intend to triple our share in the next two years.”
The market size of Indian stainless steel flat products is estimated to be 25 lakh (1 lakh = 100,000) tonnes per annum, which is growing at a steady rate of 9-10% per annum. The kitchenware segment enjoys a significant share in the market and accounts for around 10 lakh tonnes per annum, almost half of the stainless steel flat products demand in India. Although India is a large exporter in the kitchenware segment, its competitiveness is marred by a glut of cheaper imports from China. Countervailing duty (CVD) imposed by the government on stainless steel imports from China is being circumvented by routing imports through freetrade agreement (FTA) countries like Indonesia, Vietnam etc. Nearly 50% of the stainless steel used in the organized segment in the kitchenware industry in India is imported from China, directly or indirectly. Imposition of import duty (2.5%) on raw materials (ferro-nickel and stainless steel scrap) for the stainless steel industry, which are not available domestically, further reduces margins of the Indian companies in this sector. Exports in this segment can serve as a significant factor for bringing forex to India, if competitiveness of domestic players is ensured. Stronger measures by the government are necessary to safeguard the profitability of local manufacturers.
At present, the kitchenware industry is dominated by small and medium enterprises and mainly consists of cutlery, cookware, tableware, gas stoves, sinks and similar applications. The Indian kitchenware industry is growing at a rate of 6-7% and is expected to grow further. Globally, stainless steel coils are the most preferred material for the kitchenware industry since stainless steel competes more effectively than other metals. Stainless steel is inherently hygienic and corrosion-resistant, and requires minimal maintenance. These properties make stainless steel the ideal choice not just for this industry, but also for other industries where hygiene is critical, like water management, sugar industry, medical instrumentation industry etc.