The Indian food industry is considered to be a sunrise sector because of its large potential for growth and socio-economic impact. It is estimated as a $258 Billion industry with about 8% growth annually with a potential to reach $482 billion by 2020 with large investment in food processing, technical innovation and infrastructure for agriculture sector. India could well become the food basket of the world. With the second largest arable land in the world, India is the largest producer of milk, pulses, sugarcane and tea in the world and the second largest producer of wheat, rice, fruits and vegetables. Indian agriculture being the primary supporter caters to around 60% of the population for their livelihood and contributes to 17% of the GDP. Below are some issues keeping the food processing industry up at night.
1. Preservation of raw food is also a major concern for the industry. In goods such as diary, fruits & vegetables, meat processing, a little contamination can lead to destruction of the lot of raw materials making it highly risky. The industries would have to be staffed around the clock to be able to keep tabs on the raw materials, preventing them from spoiling and infestation.
2. Hygiene – Absence of Hygiene cannot only contaminate the raw materials but can also make the finished product toxic. Also, hygiene does not play a role just in the raw material but also in the processing. Installing the correct facilities for staff to ensure proper personal hygiene is met, also contributes towards meeting food safety requirements.
3. Toxin Removal – Food processing facilities rely on the use of potentially dangerous chemicals for sanitation and pest control. Because of this attention has to be applied to reduce the risk of accidental environmental contamination during the food processing cycle, failing which it can make the food toxic. Establish cleaning and disinfection programmes to ensure the correct hygiene standards are met and reduce the risk of a foodborne illness outbreak.
4. Technology and Automation – The Indian food processing industry is mainly made up of smallscale and unorganised players. A lack of innovation in this sector leads the industry to make use of the same old techniques and hence, very little margin for improvement in yield. This is hindering the progress the industry should be making, leading to more manual labour to achieve their results and consumes more process time which can be reduced through implementation of technology. Implementing automation can decrease the process time in certain processes like in mincing or liquefaction.
5. Increased Competition – Organic Products are getting a good boost in the market today, and food processing industries are known to deplete nutrition off the food products. Hence, adding nutrition or preserving the nutrition in the food products has become a necessity. With increasing competition, the Food processing industries are always busy in discovering innovative ways to keep up in the market like using macerated fruits as a sweetener in order to make the food healthier.