KOCHI: The developed world’s food basket consists of 80 per cent processed food, but in India, it makes up only 1.3 per cent, pointing to the immense possibilities for the food processing sector in India, said speakers at the CII Food Summit.
“Food is always a sunrise sector in India, but we have miles to go,” said Anupam Dutta, former managing director of Kellogg’s in Southern Africa region. He pointed out processed foods made up only a fraction of the food consumption in India, and even in urban areas, processed foods accounted for only about 5 per cent of the total food consumption.
The summit which concluded on Wednesday oversaw some 650 business-to-business meetings, with delegates from the US and Germany participating. There were also 43 food startups featured at the event.
CII Kerala chairman S Sajikumar highlighted the significance of the food industry as a job creator, and as it mobilises investible resources from the rural sector, promotes agricultural production, adds value to farm products, tackles rural-urban migration and promotes industrialisation .
Eastern Group chairman Navas M Meeran pointed out the increasing exports of spices and seafood underlined Kerala’s strengths in the food sector. He said agriculture and allied sectors contributed to more than 10 per cent of the state’s GSDP.
“The food sector is already attracting startups, with immense opportunities for enterprising startups to fill the gaps in the existing food sector value chain and thereby transform the food processing economy of Kerala and India,” said Meeran.
The Indian FMCG sector has been growing at an annual average of 11 per cent, with food products accounting for 43 per cent. CII officials said the summit opened a window of opportunities for food sector entrepreneurs aiming to tap national and global markets.
Vinod Manjila, managing director of Manjilas Food Tech, said food wastage was becoming a huge problem in India, and therein also lies opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Speakers at the summit, including Jabir Karat, founder of Green Worms, said waste auditing was the need of the hour and a number of ventures could be established for processing waste. He said waste management was emerging into a USD 60 billion-plus industry.