From the desk of Mr. Hitin Suri, Managing Director, Suri Agro Fresh Pvt. Ltd.
The processed food industry is amongst one of the fastest-growing industries in India. Majorly the
processed food industry covers fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, milk and milk products, grain
processing, and other consumer products such as fruit juices, soya-based products, chocolates et al.
The industry looks lucrative and is positioned well for growth. The government policies, consumer
outlook, and streamlining processes have helped the industry prosper. However, it has challenges of
its own. Let us look at the key opportunities and challenges that the industry provides.
Huge domestic market
Indian market requirement for processed food is rising. The pandemic has made way for a new
normal with sustainable food chains. There is a growing preference for healthy food and a localized
food supply with increased trade barriers. Innovative products focused on wellness; health &
nutrition will most likely witness a significant opportunity in the domestic market.
Well informed consumers
The young Indian population is very well informed and educated on the benefits of a healthy diet.
There is a growing interest in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Willingness to spend
Gone are the days when people used to take health for granted. Today, the educated Indian
population understands the benefits of healthy eating. They are keen to spend on health. There is a
rise in demand for premium fruits.
Huge market for fresh cuts
With life getting busier with each passing day, fresh cuts have proven their value. With a shelf life of
4-5 days, fresh-cut fruits have made their way into the diet regime of many health-conscious
The government’s production-linked schemes are inspiring vendors and improving their processing
abilities. The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) is driving efforts to boost investments
across the value chain.
Many small vendors in the European and US markets are looking for collaboration opportunities with
vendors in India. There is a wide range of avenues for collaborations. It will also help Indian vendors
to get the products included in their portfolios.
Lack of technology
The biggest challenge for the industry is the lack of technology available and accessible to the
vendors. For example, getting a juicing machine for citrus fruits is a challenge. On the other hand, the
European and US industry employees heavy machinery.
Inconsistency in the availability of produce
The weather in India is unpredictable. Too hot or too cold weather destroys the crops. Thus, the
supply of raw produce is highly fluctuating.
Competition from large vendors
Entry into the market is challenging. There are many large and established players already existing in
Lack of education and best practices
The farmers in India are mostly not educated. The lack of adoption of best practices hampers the
growth. It also results in degraded quality of the fruit.
Lack of Infrastructure
There is a significant void when it comes to the infrastructure and facilities in India. The industry
requires warehouses with temperature controls to keep the produce fresh.
To summarize, the processed food industry is one of the mainstays of the Indian economy. With
people taking strides towards a healthy lifestyle, the processed food industry is on its way to reaching