Tired of long lockdowns, both urban and rural India have embraced packaged, ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat foods in the past two years. Such products simply flew off the shelves; even food aggregators have diversified into delivering processed foods to homes within minutes.
This boom is not a recent one. The food processing industry is India’s fifth largest manufacturing sector in terms of production, export and expected growth. It grew 10% over the last five years, led by meat and marine, dairy and packaged foods segments.
In terms of market size, contribution by food processing is expected to double from $263 billion in FY 2020 to $535 billion by FY 2025. The Indian food and grocery market is the world’s sixth largest, with retail contributing 70% of the sales.
Production is booming too. The Indian government has sanctioned 41 food parks funded under the Mega Food Parks Scheme, of which 38 have received final approval. As of 2021, there are 22 Mega Food Parks functioning in India. Additionally, the federal government has approved the Performance Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for the food processing sector, with a budget outlay of $1.46 billion. To top it all, 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has been permitted in this segment.
Ingrained in every old or new food processing unit is the non-negotiable requirement for spotless hygiene. Pests, bacteria, fungi, moulds, dust, dirt, spills, stains…the list of no’s is long. How are food processing companies meeting this requirement? What should be used to achieve these goals?
We asked the experts to weigh in.