Food Processing, with a total planned outlay of USD 1.45 bn, is among the 10 sectors which lies at the heart of the Government of India’s Make in India initiative and resonates with Prime Minister Modi’s call for ‘vocal for local’. Recently as a major development in this sector, the Government of India gave its approval to introduce the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for the sector as part of its efforts for enhancing India’s manufacturing capabilities and enhancing exports under Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) is also taking all necessary steps to boost investments in the food processing industry and to encourage investments across the value chain through its entire gamut of initiatives.
On regulatory front too, an enormous amount of work is being done by the FSSAI. FSSAI sets globally benchmarked food standards and process standards with the help of the country’s most eminent scientists and experts. FSSAI has also created digital ecosystem which is a further helping in ease of doing business including food licenses and registration; portal for import clearance; food fortification; India food sharing alliance etc.
Looking at the current trends, the Indian food processing industry is experiencing a paradigm shift due to the growing global demands for food safety, increasing consumer demand for higher quality and sustainability and reliability of supply chains post COVID-19. Food consumption patterns and preferences are undergoing significant changes all over the world. Due to increased awareness about health and wellness, evolving lifestyle changes, and increasing incidence of food-heart-related diseases like diabetics, obesity, etc., consumers worldwide are showing an interest in a preventive lifestyle rather than a curative approach.
Further, with introduction of Work from Home Culture amid the pandemic there has been a rapid shift in the consumer behavior and their eating habits even in India. Trends indicate a sharp increase in on-the go eating, snacking in between meals, switching to healthier eating alternatives, pre-cooked ready to eat meals and increasing consumption of organic foods. This has led to a host of new opportunities in the consumer foods market for both domestic and international companies to build a stake in this fast-growing processed food market.
Today consumers demand and understand about the ingredients present in the products. Hence, Health and wellness movement has been on the radar of the major food companies who are proactively tapping into the rapidly growing product categories in this market.
In a huge and diverse country like India, this trend is relevant in two radically different ways; while a large part of rural India suffers from malnutrition and seeks foods that supplements basic minerals like iodine, and iron, and other nutrients like Vitamin A, a lot of people in urban India suffer from lifestyle-related disorders like obesity, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension, and seek solace in low fat, low sugar, and low cholesterol products.
New trends in sustainability, health and wellness, and convenience are the key pillars that are driving formulation, packaging, marketing, and more in the food and drink industry.
The author is Chair, FICCI Food Processing Committee & CEO- Food Division, ITC Ltd