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Food processing industry urged focus on quality

The reports in the print media revealed that Anita Praveen, secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Govt. of India recently said that the Indian Food Processing Industry, the second biggest employer in the country after textile, can become a major source of increasing farmers’ income.
“The food processing sector is an important sector of the economy, and we need to focus on serving the large population of India,” said the Secretary, while addressing the 15th edition of ‘FICCI FOODWORLD INDIA 2024’ recently.
“We are a huge market, and we are witnessing numerous trade negotiations because the world recognizes that consumers are in India. These negotiations indicate the growing importance of the Indian Food Processing sector on a global scale,” she added.
Emphasizing the need for the Food Processing Industry to expand the international markets, she said that the industry should target to ensure that processed food should remain the ‘quality food’ for all. “Time has now come to look at the international taste buds and start manufacturing the products that appeal to everyone in the world,” she highlighted.
Expressing her concern, she further said that industry will have to stand for itself by building quality products while ultra-processed food cannot become the cause of diseases. She urged that the believable and the dependable production must be considered as the primary duty of the industry. The collaboration of the food industry along with other stakeholders, including the government, is very much needed for harnessing the sector’s full potential. “Processed foods will continue to stay, and it will still be consumed but let us ensure that it does not get questioned for its quality,” she urged.
On his part, S Vijayarani, director, Northern Region, FSSAI said that the Indian food processing industry is a growing sector that must expand significantly to contribute greatly to the Indian economy. This industry must grow extensively without compromise, prioritizing health and nutritional factors.
Hemant Malik, chair, FICCI Food Processing Committee & ED, ITC noted that the Indian Food Processing sector has now become important for our nation’s economic growth as it contributes nearly 13 percent to GDP. We aim to double this contribution by 2030 with a projected growth rate of 15 per cent, he noted.
The co-chair, FICCI Food Processing Committee and managing director, India & South Asia, Kellanova, Prashant Peres, said that there is a need to reaffirm our commitment to leveraging technology and R&D innovation as drivers of sustainable growth and resilience within India’s food processing industry. By embracing a culture of commitment, continuous improvement and responsible stewardship, we can build a brighter future for our industry and our nation, he noted.
Endorsing Prashant’s view, Shiva Krishnamurthy, co-chair, FICCI Food Processing Committee and ED (Nutrition & Ice Cream), Hindustan Unilever said that sustainability is very integral to the food process sector and the pillars of climate, nature, plastic and livelihood are critical in making the food system sustainable.
The Secretary General, FICCI, SK Pathak, came saying, “India’s food processing industry has a great future. With future growth in domestic and international markets, our industry, both large and MSMEs, would look at greater business. We would also comply with processed food labelling and aim at much higher exports for not just the Indian diaspora but also global consumers.”
Jyoti Vij, additional director General, FICCI said that India’s food processing sector is ready all the ways capturing an unprecedented growth. As our nation transitions from scarcity to surplus in food production, the opportunities for advancing our food processing capabilities are immense, she added.
FICCI-BCG whitepaper on ‘Nourishing India Sustainably: Ecosystem Actions for Food Systems Transformation’, was released during the session.