- India is one of the largest producers of wheat and rice.
- Coconuts, cashew nuts, ginger, turmeric and black pepper is widely grown in some parts of the country.
- India is the second largest producer of groundnuts, fruits and vegetables. That it accounts for about 10 per cent of the world's fruits production with the country topping in the production of mangoes and bananas.
- Due to the high processing levels milk products offer a significant opportunity in India. India is the world's largest producer of milk owing to the strong business models formed through cooperative movements in the country. Milk and related products account for 17% of India's total expenditure on food. This segment enjoys liberal regulations as all milk products except malted foods are automatically allowed 51% foreign equity participation and all exports of dairy products are freely allowed.
- Alcoholic beverages have been categorised as the new high opportunity sector in India. Liquor manufactured in India is categorised as Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL). The sector is still barred from the import of potable alcohol as it is subject to government licensing. In the meanwhile, India has recently started producing wine for domestic consumption.
- Meat and poultry has also gained popularity due to the emergence of producers that have integrated breeding, feed milling, contract growing and marketing facilities for improved productivity. Meat, fish, and poultry are in rural areas as they are easily affordable and provide necessary nutrients. India has the potential to be a leading global food supplier if it employs the right marketing strategies and creates an efficient supply chain
2. Conventional farming to commercial faming
In recent years, there has been a shift from conventional farming of food grains to horticulture which include fruits, vegetables, ornamental crops, medicinal and aromatic plants, spices, plantation crops which include coconut, cashew nuts and cocoa and allied activities
3. Market in the form of large urban middle class
With a huge population of 1.08 billion and population growth of about 1.6 % per annum, India is a large and growing market for food products. Its 350 million strong urban middle class with its changing food habits poses a huge market for agricultural products and processed food.
4. Low Production cost
The relatively low-cost but skilled workforce can be effectively utilised to set up large, low-cost production bases for domestic and export markets.
5. Change in consumption patterns
Increasing incomes are always accompanied by a change in the food habits. Over the last three decades in India a shift in food habits have been observed. The report observes that the proportionate expenditure on cereals, pulses, edible oil, sugar, salt and spices declines as households climb the expenditure classes in urban India while the opposite happens in the case of milk and milk products, meat, egg and fish, fruits and beverages.
For instance, According to report of ICRA the proportionate expenditure on staples like cereals, grams and pulses declined from 45 per cent to 44 per cent in rural India while the figure settled at 32 per cent of the total expenditure on food in urban India.
A large part of this shift in consumption is driven by the processed food market, which accounts for 32 per cent of the total food market. It accounts for US$ 29.4 billion, in a total estimated market of US$ 91.66 billion. The food processing industry is one of the largest industries in India -- it is ranked fifth in terms of production, consumption, export and expected growth.
According to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) the food-processing sector has the potential of attracting US$ 33 billion of investment in 10 years and generate employment of 9 million person-days.
6. Government Assistance
The Government has introduced several schemes to provide financial assistance for setting up and modernizing of food processing units, creation of infrastructure, support for research and development and human resource development in addition to other promotional measures to encourage the growth of the processed food sector.
7. Foreign Direct Investment
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country's food sector is poised to hit the US$ 3-billion mark in coming years. FDI approvals in food processing have doubled in last one year alone. The cumulative FDI inflow in food processing reached US$ 2,804 million in March '06. In '05-06, the sector received approvals worth US$ 41 million. This figure is almost double the US$ 22 million approved in 2004-05.
The US-based private equity fund, New Vernon Private Equity Limited (NVPEL), has decided to invest Rs 45 crore in Kochi-based spice major, Eastern Condiments, which is the flagship company of Eastern Group.
America's largest chocolate and confectionery-maker Hershey is acquiring 51 per cent stake in Godrej Beverages and Foods for US$ 54 million.
8. Food Parks
In an effort to boost the food sector, the Government is working on agri zones and the concept of mega food parks. Twenty such mega parks will come are proposed across the country in various cities to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the food-processing sector.
The Government has released a total assistance of US$ 23 million to implement the Food Parks Scheme. It has so far approved 50 food parks for assistance across the country. The Centre also plans US$ 22 billion subsidy for mega food processing parks.
9.Conducive food processing policy environment
The national policy on food processing aims at increasing the level of food processing from the present 2 per cent to 10 per cent by 2010 and 25 per cent by 2025.
The government has allowed 100 per cent FDI in processing sector.
The Policy will seek to create an appropriate environment for entrepreneurs to set up Food Processing Industries through:
- Fiscal initiatives and interventions like rationalization of tax structure on fresh foods as well as processed foods and machinery used for the production of processed foods.
- A concerted promotion campaign to create market for processed foods by providing financial assistance to Industry Associations, NGOs/Cooperatives, Private Sector Units, State Government Organization for undertaking generic market promotion.
- Harmonization and simplification of food laws by an appropriate enactment to cover all provisions relating to food products so that the existing system of multiple laws is replaced and also covering issues concerning standards Nutrition, Merit goods, futures marketing, equalisation fund etc.
- Efforts to expand the availability of the right kind and quality of raw material round the year by increasing production, improving productivity.
- Strengthening of database and market intelligence system through studies and surveys to be conducted in various States to enable planned investment in the appropriate sector matching with the availability of raw material and marketability of processed products.
- Strengthening extension services and to the farmers and co-operatives in the areas of post harvest management of agro-produce to encourage creation of pre-processing facilities near the farms like washing, fumigation, packaging etc.
- Efforts to encourage setting up of agro-processing facilities as close to the area of production as possible to avoid wastage and reduce transportation cost.
- Promotion of investments, both foreign and domestic.
Simplification of documentation and procedures under taxation laws to avoid unnecessary harassment arising out of mere technicalities.
The Policy will facilitate:
- Establishment of cold chain, low cost pre-cooling facilities near farms, cold stores and grading, sorting, packing facilities to reduce wastage, improve quality and shelf life of products.
- Application of biotechnology, remote sensing technology, energy saving technologies and technologies for environmental protection.
- Building up a strong infrastructural base for production of value added products with special emphasis on food safety and quality matching international standards.
- Development of Packaging Technologies for individual products, especially cut-fruits & vegetables, so as to increase their shelf life and improve consumer acceptance both in the domestic and international markets.
- Development of new technologies in Food Processing & Packaging and also to provide for the mechanism to facilitate quick transfer of technologies to field through a net work of R&D Institutions having a Central Institute at the national level with satellite institutions located strategically in various regions to cover up the whole Country and to make available the required testing facilities. This could be done by establishing a new institution or strengthening an existing one.
- Development of area-specific Agro Food Parks dedicated to processing of the predominant produce of the area e.g., apple in J&K, pineapple in North East, Lichi in Bihar, Mango in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh etc. etc.
- Development of Anchor Industrial Centre and/or linkage with Anchor Industrial Units having network of small processing units.
- Development of Agro-industrial multi-products units capable of processing a cluster of trans-seasonal produces.
The Policy will promote:
- Establishment of a sustained and lasting linkage between the farmers and the processors based on mutual trust, understanding and benefits by utilizing the existing infrastructure of cooperative, village panchayats and such other institutions.
- Mechanism to reduce the gap between the farm gate price of agro-produce and the final price paid by the consumer.
- Development of Futures Market in the best interest of both the farmers and the processors ensuring a minimum price stability to the farmer and a sustained supply of raw material to the processor.
- Setting up of an Equalization Fund to ensure sustained supply of raw material at a particular price level and at the same time to plough back the savings occurring in the eventuality of lower price to make the Fund self-regenerative.
The policy will promote:
- Establishment of a strong linkage between the processor and the market to effect cost economies by elimination of avoidable intermediaries.
- Establishment of marketing network with an apex body to ensure proper marketing of processed products.
- Development of marketing capabilities both with regard to infrastructure and quality in order to promote competitive capabilities to face not only the WTO challenge but to undertake exports in a big way.
Given the trends in the Indian food and beverage sector including key industry consideration, it is imperative for the Indian industry to leverage the emerging opportunities at once. These could be:
- Exploitation of the huge untapped potential in processed foods.
- Opportunities presented by contract farming, captive supplies of raw materials, disintermediation and direct access to farmers, availability of new and improved seeds and farm technology.
- Value addition to unprocessed categories of food such as dairy, fruits and vegetable, staples and edible oils.
- Exploitation of increasing health and safety awareness of the Indian consumer - this would pave the way for value added products on a health platform.
- Investment in supply chain in order to improve costs, tighten supplies and minimize wastage.
- Investment in better packaging and cold chain infrastructure will aid the processed food and beverage sector as these would aid in processing of fruits and vegetables.
- Exploration of appropriate regional branding strategies in order to appeal to the deep rooted traditions, values and customs of the consumer
- Taking advantage of the inherent ethnic tastes and food habits of the Indian consumer -- this provides the local food players a distinct advantage over foreign entrants into the sector and poses an entry barrier for the latter
- Exploitation of the increasing consumerism fuelled by new job opportunities, larger disposable incomes and the emerging boom in modern retail trade.
- Opportunities for growth through the inorganic route, both domestically and outbound this would provide access to new product categories, brands, markets and new technologies.
- The SEZ /AEZ opportunity would also provide players the added incentive to develop greenfield projects within these zones and enjoy additional fiscal benefits
The Indian Foods & Beverage industry is poised for a significant leap forward -- these are interesting times and continued success will depend on a proper understanding of the landscape and challenges therein, quickly exploiting emerging opportunities, skillful execution of strategic mergers and acquisitions and effecting a seamless organisation to evolve into truly global players.
The vision 2015 of the Government of India for the food-processing sector aims at:
- Enhancing and stabilizing the income level of the farmers
- Providing choice to consumers in terms of wide variety and taste including traditional ethnic food
- Providing greater assurance in terms of safety and quality of food to consumers
- Promoting a dynamic food processing industry
- Enhancing the competitiveness of food processing industry in both domestic as well as international markets
- Making the food processing sector attractive for both domestic and foreign investors
- Achieving integration of the food processing infrastructure from farm to market
- Having a transparent and industry friendly regulatory regime
- Putting in place a transparent system of standards based on science
The following specific targets would be to increase:
- The level of processing of perishables from 6% to 20%
- Value addition from 20% to 35%
- Share in global food trade from 1.5% to 3%, by the year 2015
An estimated investment of Rs. 100,000 crores is required to achieve the discussed vision, of which Rs.45,000 crores is expected to come from the private sector, Rs. 45,000 crores from Financial Institutions and Rs. 10,000 crore from Government.