Food Processing – a sunrise sector

Food Processing – a sunrise sector

The most basic definition of food processing is “a variety of operations by which raw foodstuffs are made suitable for consumption, cooking, or storage”. Food processing includes any action that changes or converts raw plant or animal materials into safe, edible and more enjoyable, palatable foodstuffs. In large- scale food manufacture, processing involves applying scientific and technological principles to preserve foods by slowing down or stopping the natural processes of decay.

The food processing sector is the fifth largest industry in India and contributes around 13 per cent of the country’s exports. India is the second largest producer of food in the world but its share of world trade is approximately 0.5% and that is mainly because of low yield levels per hectare. Less than 1% of the products are commercially processed and a high percentage is wasted. Increase in productivity would make India one of the lowest cost producers in the world. Several thousand crore worth of farm produce is lost every year due to improper post harvesting, storage facilities, processing losses, mishandling, improper packaging, ill equipped and weak cold chain infrastructure. It is therefore imperative to introduce state of the art technology in the food-processing sector to minimize post-harvest losses. It also calls for a concerted attention to a few selected food products where India has or can develop a competitive edge over other countries. More and more customer demand and increasing global competition is calling to improve the pace and Quality of Innovation in this sector. Increasing retailing and higher spending of consumer is expected to increase the penetration of processed food in the Indian market.

Food Processing Industry is not only the need of the hour but also has the potential to bring prosperity in rural economy and contribute to the socio economic development of the country. It is certainly the pathway of a new future for India.

Key note:
By 2020, Indian Food and Retail market is projected to touch $828.92 bn
By 2020, the Indian Dairy industry is expected to double to $140 bn
By 2024, the Food Processing industry will potentially attract $33 bn investments
and generate employment for 9 million people
By 2030, Indian annual household consumption to treble, making India 5th
largest consumer
100% FDI is permitted under the automatic route in Food processing industries.
100% FDI is allowed through government approval route for trading, including
through ecommerce in respect of food products manufactured or produced in India.