Food processing industry should focus on quality and expanding export markets: Secretary, MoFPI

Food processing industry should focus on quality and expanding export markets: Secretary, MoFPI

New Delhi: The Indian food processing industry is the second biggest employer in the country after textile and can be the basis for increasing farmers’ income, Anita Praveen, Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), Government of India said in New Delhi on Thursday.

Addressing the 15th edition of ‘FICCI FOODWORLD INDIA 2024’, Praveen said that the food processing sector is an important sector of the economy, and we need to focus on serving the large population of India. “We are a huge market, and we are witnessing numerous trade negotiations because the world recognises that consumers are in India. These negotiations indicate the growing importance of the Indian food processing industry on a global scale,” she added.

Emphasising the need for the industry to expand the international markets, Praveen said that our target should be to ensure that processed food remains 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.

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The top bureaucrat at the MoFPI further said that the industry would have to stand for itself by building quality products and ultra-processed food cannot become the cause of diseases. She added that responsible production is our (industry) duty. The collaboration of the food industry along with other stakeholders, including the government, is essential 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,” said Praveen.

S Vijayarani, Director, Northern Region, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (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, prioritising health and nutritional factors.

Hemant Malik, Chair, FICCI Food Processing Committee & Executive Director, ITC said that the Indian food processing sector is a cornerstone of our nation’s economic growth, contributing nearly 13 per cent to GDP. We aim to double this contribution by 2030 with a projected growth rate of 15 per cent, he noted.

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Prashant Peres, Co-Chair, FICCI Food Processing Committee and MD, India & South Asia, Kellanova 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 added.

Shiva Krishnamurthy, Co-Chair, FICCI Food Processing Committee and Executive Director (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.

SK Pathak, Secretary General, FICCI said, “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.”

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Jyoti Vij, Additional Director General, FICCI said that India’s food processing sector stands at the threshold of 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.

The 16th International Food & Beverages Trade Expo – ‘Annapoorna Inter Food’ is also organised from 5th to 7th June 2024 at Yashobhoomi (IICC), Dwarka, New Delhi. The three-day expo will witness the participation of over 120 exhibitors from India and abroad with over 10,000 visitors expected to visit the expo.

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