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With Unlock 4.0, food processing sector seeks clarity on taxes and fees
Tuesday, 15 September, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Kimberley Fernandes, Mumbai
With Unlock 4.0, the government is ready with new rules and regulations in place while relaxing a few stringent conditions that were set since March of this year, owing to the spread of Covid-19. These new laws are likely to help boost the economy by helping some of the worst affected sectors, in particular, the food processing industry.

While restaurants were shut due to the pandemic, food delivery platforms saw a rise in sales of fresh produce as well as food ordered from restaurant chains. At the same time, ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook packaged foods have been on rise for the sake of convenience.

Sagar Kurade, chairman and managing director, Suman Food Consultants, said, “While the demand for packaged food products is picking up, the industry is still off from its pre-Covid peak. Interest of entry within food sector is also seen both within startups as well as from companies who want to diversify.”

‘Mission Begin Again' programme will find a lot more movement and change in the food processing sector. Industry leaders are expecting clarity on payment of taxes and corresponding fees.

“Industry does expect additional relief package with regards to GST classification as well as financial package. Suggestions with regards to the same have been made to Government of India through various industry associations,” added Kurade.

This new normal era will inspire big, medium and small businesses in the food processing sector to recreate themselves in order to get things up and running, not only for their own businesses but the economy at large.

Akshay Bector, chairman and managing director, Cremica Food Industries Limited, said, “If you look at what’s happening in the food processing industry, the restaurant business has definitely been affected with regards to sales, and business profits are quite compromised. Through the last few lockdown openings, we are seeing significant amount of profit. Unlock 4.0, we hope to see 70 to 80 per cent recovery that will be achieved. Hopefully if things remain the same in the coming two quarters, we expect sales to normalise. The government is doing a good job, let’s hope the Covid cases are controlled so that it doesn’t lead to another lockdown.”

Ashwin Bhadri, CEO, Equinox Labs, said, “The new notified guidelines and standards that come with the Unlock 4.0 will inspire the food processing industry to turn towards, acknowledge and implement various new innovations. Consumer choices are rapidly changing and it can be said that almost all of them at some point in the post-lockdown era would prefer a product that is the result of innovation."
 
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