Day 15 – Q 4.The staggering diversity of culture, customs and cuisine in India makes food processing industry one of the promising sectors of the economy. Do you agree? Substantiate.
4. The staggering diversity of culture, customs and cuisine in India makes food processing industry one of the promising sectors of the economy. Do you agree? Substantiate.
भारत में संस्कृति, रीति-रिवाजों और व्यंजनों की व्यापक विविधता खाद्य प्रसंस्करण उद्योग को अर्थव्यवस्था के होनहार क्षेत्रों में से एक बनाती है। क्या आप सहमत हैं? पुष्टी करें।
India is a diverse country with its diversity ranging from ethnicity to religion and from cultures to cuisines. India celebrates thousands of cultural and religious festivals and has a number of customs. This diversity promises growth in many economic activities which are directly or indirectly associated with it, such as tourism, food processing industry etc.
The term ‘food processing’ is mainly defined as a process of value addition to the agricultural or horticultural produce by various methods like grading, sorting and packaging.
India’s food processing sector is a sunrise industry and spans a wide range of products that includes fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, seafood and poultry; dairy and dairy products; fermented foods and drinks; grains, cereals and millets; bakeries; confectionery; etc. Of these, RTE (ready to eat) and RTH (ready to heat) foods have grabbed special attention.
The staggering diversity of culture, customs and cuisine in India makes food processing industry one of the promising sectors of the economy in the following ways:
- India has been a forerunner in giving diverse facets to this art of food processing. Using salt and oil to pickle surplus vegetables and sun-drying brined vegetables and fruits to increase their shelf life, and survive scarcity and unfavourable conditions is nothing new in Indian households.
- Regional Customs and food habits are diverse in India, for example, North-East and South India have different customs and cuisines. By this FPI gets a diversity of product range and also gets market for different products as per regional customs demand.
- Usage of many fruits in crucial for many traditional customs of the country. These fruits can be made available during the offseason in any part of the country by processing and increasing their shelf life.
- Dairy items such as milk, Ghee and Shrikhand which are used in bulk for many festivals can be made available where their production is low due to the regional disparity. Demand for dairy products is expected to grow at a healthy rate of 15 to 20 per cent over the next five years.
- Indian belief in Atithi Devo Bhava. Many serve bakery products to guest along with tea to show hospitality, which is also part of Indian culture. Therefore, Bakery products are a related segment that has also the potential to grow strongly.
- Dietary habits of most Indians are associated with their culture and religion, due to which some are pure vegetarian and some are non-vegetarian. With increasing population, demands for both vegetables as well as meat, fish and chicken is increasing day by day which can be fulfilled by FPI. There is a large potential for setting up modern slaughter facilities and development of cold chains for vegetables and meat.
- In the fisheries segment also, India’s long coastline and network of inland waterways and lakes offer plentiful availability of different types of fishes. Many fish-eating coastal residents are now living in cities away from the coast due to internal migration. So FPI can play an important role to place particular fish in their plates.
- FPI has huge potential for giving Indian test of diverse cuisine to the world. The home-grown food brands such as Haldirams with a suitably ethnic product range can serve the global market.
- Traditional summer beverages such as Lassi, Aam Rus and Aam Panna can be served across the length and breadth of the nation and also abroad.
Hurdles and Drawbacks:
FPI companies haven’t quite managed to make inroads into the centre of the Indian consumer’s plate due to the following reasons:
- Attempts to force-fit global food preferences to the Indian marketplace.
- Company’s failure to recognize the enormous regional diversity in food habits.
- Lack of customizing global products and flavours to the local palate.
- Consumer backlash against preservative and calorie-laden processed foods.
- The recent controversy over cattle slaughter is not good for the meat industry.
- Large sections of women who are housewives prefer serving homemade and home preserved food considering it to be healthier.
Under the Make in India initiative, the Government plans to stimulate growth in the Food Processing sector through the creation of a strong infrastructure, reduction of food wastage and promotion of Ease of Doing Business (EODB) measures. The upcoming ‘Scheme For Agro-Marine produces Processing and Development of Agro-clusters’ (SAMPADA) will provide a renewed thrust to the sector.