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Need to streamline interface between govt & food service stakeholders
Monday, 21 November, 2016, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
There is a need to streamline the interface between government agencies and food service industry stakeholders. This was stated by Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive officer, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

He added that the multiplicity of agencies was leading to ambiguity. The apex food regulator’s landscape is undergoing a change to make it easier for business to operate with effective compliance.

Agarwal said FSSAI was running a pilot project in Goa and providing in-house training to the enforcement officials to promote the culture of safe and nutritious food to all.

A food safety display board has been launched to change the overall consumer perceptibility and engage with the consumers directly. The FSSAI chief added that various apps and helpline numbers have been introduced so that consumers can reach out to FSSAI.

Consumer Protection Bill
The Consumer Protection Bill, 2015, which will replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, will enforce consumer rights and provide a mechanism for the redressal of complaints regarding defects in goods and deficiency in services.

“It is hoped that the Bill will be tabled in the ongoing winter session of Parliament,” said Hem Pande, secretary, ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution, at Foodzania, a food service retail conclave organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Unguarded supply chain
In his special address, Pande said that food service retail faced challenges such as inconsistencies in the Central and state policies, unavailability of a skilled labour force, unguarded supply chain, escalating food prices and lack of product development and innovation.

The government is aware of these issues and working towards bringing about legislative and fiscal reforms to deliver quality food to consumers and uniform standards for food retailers.

Pande stated that the food service industry in India needed to match global standards and this could be achieved with technological advancements. He added that while the consumers were moving towards evolved and new-age retailers, the traditional retailers remained attractive to consumers.

He said that the government was creating a mechanism to safeguard the interest of the consumers, while providing a conducive environment for the growth of the industry. He added that the sector would only grow and thrive when the stakeholders come together to address the issues.

Piyush Patodia, chairman, FICCI Task Force on Food Services Retail, and managing director, Firestorm, said that Foodzania was an initiative by FICCI Food Service Retail Task Force, which was formed to address the issues faced by the stakeholders in the sector.

Foodzania, a flagship event of FICCI, provided a platform to the stakeholders, including food service entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, hoteliers, service providers, vendors and the government, to address regulatory issues.

The conclave addressed regulatory issues and endeavours to create the best of the content and share their business journey to help the new-age entrepreneurs and food service retail professionals to march ahead.

On the occasion, Mr. Pande and other dignitaries launched the FICCI-KPMG report ‘India’s food service industry: Growth recipe’, which highlighted the overall potential of the food service in India and captures the emerging trends in the industry.

Further, it delved into the growth strategies by focusing on the policy and regulatory aspects, and the leading practices followed in major developed economies around the world.

It also threw light upon the ease of doing business scenario in the industry and provided key focal development areas to address the skill gap challenge.

The report recommended key alterations required to stimulate the growth in the food service industry, helping the industry realise its true potential. A concerted and collaborative effort has been made to suggest the next steps to address various issues faced by the industry.

Rajat Wahi, partner and head, consumer markets, KPMG in India, said, “For the food service industry to realise its growth potential in entirety, there is a need for various stakeholders of the industry to work in a cohesive manner, to remove the bottlenecks faced by the industry.”

“The report provides an extensive view of the regulatory and other challenges faced by the food service industry and prioritises action items to counter those challenges, to make the industry globally competitive,” he added.
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