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India created history by exporting worth $25.6 bn in FY22
Thursday, 23 February, 2023, 15 : 00 PM [IST]
Rahul Agarwal
The Indian food industry is growing with a higher rate , increasing its contribution to the world food trade every year. In India, the food sector has emerged as a high-growth and high-profit sector due to its immense potential for value addition, particularly within the food processing industry.

Food is a basic necessity and requirement of everyone without any doubt; therefore the demands are always going to be high. There are many big companies already actively involved in the food processing industry and the government is playing a vital role in promoting it. Many factors are shaping and affecting the growth of such industries. Investors are more attracted to the food processing industry, foreseeing its high potential and wider customer base.

The Indian food processing industry is currently one of the largest in the nation in terms of growth, production, consumption and exports.

The industry produces and manufactures several food products such as, fruits, vegetables, spices, milk and milk products, alcoholic beverages, plantations  grains  meat, poultry, fisheries. It also manufactures cocoa products and chocolates, confectionery, mineral water, soya-based items and high-protein foods. Since the liberalisation in August 1991, the government proposed and accepted multiple projects, for instance, creating foreign collaborations, joint ventures, 100% export-oriented units and industrial licences to encourage growth and investment in the food processing industry. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India was estimated at Rs. 2,934.1 crore (US$368.8 million) in FY21.

India's food processing sector is a rising segment that has gained prominence in recent years. Major processed food products exported from India include processed fruits and juices, pulses, guar gum, groundnuts, milled products, cereals preparations, oil meals and alcoholic beverages.  India created history in agriculture and processed food exports by exporting products worth US$25.6 billion in FY22.

Export of APEDA products stood at US$7.4 billion as of April-June 2022, up 31% compared with US$.7 billion over the same period last fiscal, according to the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics.  Furthermore, exports of processed fruits and vegetables grew by 59.1%; cereals and miscellaneous processed items grew by 37.66%; meat, dairy and poultry products grew by 9.5%; basmati rice grew by 25.5%; non-basmati rice grew by 5%; and miscellaneous products grew by 50% (Source: APEDA)

The food sector is currently undergoing a transition in India. The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) forecasts that the sector will grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3% between 2022 and 2030.

    • The need for food processing in the present world
        • These include toxin removal, preservation, easing marketing and distribution tasks and increasing food consistency
        • In addition, it increases yearly availability of many foods, enables transportation of delicate perishable foods across long distances and makes many kinds of foods safe to eat by de-activating spoilage and pathogenic micro-organisms
        • The extremely varied modern diet is only truly possible, on a wide scale because of food processing. Transportation of more exotic foods, as well as the elimination of much hard labour gives the modern eater easy access to a wide variety of food unimaginable to their ancestors
        • Mass production of food is much cheaper overall than individual production of meals from raw ingredients
        • Processed food freed people from the large amount of time involved in preparing and cooking “natural” unprocessed foods. The increase in free time allows people much more choice in lifestyle than previously allowed

The food processing Industry is significant in India, for the following reasons:
        • Enhance farmer’s income by better utilisation and value addition of agricultural produce
        • Minimise wastage at all stages in the food processing chain by the development of infrastructure for storage, transportation and processing of agro-food produce
        • Introduce modern technology into the food processing industries from both domestic and external sources
        • Encouraging R&D in food processing for product and process development and improved packaging
        • Provide policy support, and support for creation of Infrastructure, capacity expansion/ Upgradation and other supportive measures form the growth of this sectors
        • Promote export of processed food products
        • Generate Employment: It provides direct and indirect employment opportunities, because it acts as a bridge between Agriculture and Manufacturing
        • Reduce malnutrition: Processed foods when fortified with vitamins and minerals can reduce the nutritional gap in the population
        • Crop-diversification: Food processing will require different types of inputs thus creating an incentive for the farmer to grow and diversify crops

(The author is associate professor, Department of Food Technology, JNU, Jaipur. He can be reached at
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