Raghav Gupta is the Director of Kanchan Metals. The company is dedicated to providing end-to-end solutions to the needs of food processing firms in India. Motivated by his passion for providing the best possible services in the food processing industry, Raghav firmly believes that success is a result of one’s diligence and determination. Raghav has been a part of Kanchan Metals since 2011. Under his direction, the company has gained a unique position in the food processing industry in India. He believes that their customers help shape views about the business and its potential, thus opening doors for the organization to expand its business volume, in terms of equipment manufacturing and food product manufacturing divisions. He aims to make the company the preferred choice for food equipment and food product manufacturing for its customers.
India is one of the leading manufacturing countries in the world. Be it any sector, India will boast of having its presence in the production of products in that particular industry.
Various reports suggest that the Indian food processing sector is one of the fastest-growing markets and is expected to reach $ 535 bn by 2025-26. While the sector is booming, it is of prime importance and hence garners attention from the government as well. It is one of the leading providers of huge employment opportunities as well. Our nation is also touted to be one of the major exporters across the Middle East, Southeast Asia, SAARC countries, the EU, and the US.
India not only possesses a huge domestic market but also possesses raw material in abundance. With rapid urbanization comes a change in consumption patterns and growing consumption rates. In the present fast-paced times, the population especially the millennials don’t have much time for cooking and preparing meals at home. This further boosts the demand for ready-to-eat, ready to make and packaged foods.
Growth of the food processing sector in India
The organized food retail sector offers a diverse variety of options to its consumers. This coupled with luring deals and offers makes the sector all the more appealing and attractive. Rising disposable income, rapid urbanization, and growth of the organized retail sector are some of the major driving factors for this market.
The sector’s growth is dependent on various factors. The major ones include-
- Changing lifestyle of the consumers leading to a shift in their food consumption habits
- Rise of disposable income
- High agricultural production
- Increased export opportunities leading to global integration of the economies
- Government’s support
Challenges faced by the industry
While the sector is growing significantly, it faces various challenges as well. Lack of infrastructural facilities, applied research, quality of raw material, inadequate food safety laws, production delays due to seasonal availability of certain crops, and storage constraints. Additionally, the transportation issues, lack of technological advancements, along with ensuring the provision of a hygienic and high volume food production without compromising on the taste are some of the major roadblocks for the food processing industry’s growth in India. However, one of the major challenges that the industry faces is the indigenisation of the produce.
Despite locally manufacturing the produce, we still lack in the availability of the right raw material of adequate quality at the right place and at the right time. This happens primarily due to poor planning, unbalance in the demand-supply chain, absence of advanced farming methods, improper farming methods, etc.
There is a strong need for local manufacturing and technological development so as to enhance the food processing machinery and the working of the industry. Reducing the GST rates lower than the import duties by the government is another step that can help in this direction.
All food processing companies who serve as the machinery industry’s potential customers should be provided with enhanced eligibility of depreciation claim in the first investment year only if they buy local machinery over imported ones. Besides, a solid scheme dedicated to the manufacturing and food processing industry is essential that will boost the research and development activities and accelerate technology development of the industry to reduce imports.
With programs like Atmanirbhar Bharat, Vocal for local and Make in India, the manufacturing sector got the requisite push and also paved the way for indigenisation. The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojna is another major initiative that will help in adopting modern infrastructural facilities that will further improve the supply chain process. Additionally, the government’s 100% FDI permitted for food processing in India will help in tackling the indigenisation charges.
The government can further help bolster the food processing equipment manufacturers by establishing a program to assess the quality and knowledge and operation skills of local manufacturers. Based on such assessment, they can further execute tie-ups with industry leaders from abroad for the development of local manufacturers. Additionally, there is a need to incentivize R&D activities by local manufacturers to help them grow their capabilities.
The surprising bit is that despite being the manufacture of raw materials, we have to depend on the exports for various products. Thus indigenisation remains one of the major challenges for manufacturing especially the food processing and equipment sector in India. While there are various government initiatives that will help in tackling the indigenisation challenges, it is indeed the need of the hour to come up with technological advancements and strategies to ensure that we locally manufacture all the products and there is a bare minimum import of raw material and technology. Doing so will eventually boost the food processing, equipment, and manufacturing sector on the whole.