Value addition in the Indian food industry Ushering in a new Era
India, a subtropical country with varied agro-climatic conditions, is suited for the growth of varied fruits, vegetables and spices which form an integral part of the food of Indian households. The country has enjoyed enviable position in the world in the growth of many agricultural commodities. The Indian food has always been cooked in the aromas of Indian spices which are good for health, add to the taste and provide richness to it recipes.
There is a perceptible change in the way food lands up in our homes for being eaten. This change has been due to the impetus given to the growth of the agro-processing units which convert the raw food materials into processed and semi-processed foods, ready to be eaten by the people with a few minutes of preparation. This value addition in the form of packaged foods has led to some diversion of the raw materials from the markets to the industries.
This value addition has made things a lot simpler for the people who no longer have to first accumulate all the ingredients including the common table salt and then wait for the food to be cooked. This has also introduced more variety in the Indian food market, giving more choices of delicious cuisines to the consumers. The earlier versions of the packed food available in the markets were the spice blends in the form of the famous chat masala. The recent movements are not confined to the spice blends only but these are now moving towards the agro-commodities offering the ready-to-eat recipes of delicious cuisines.
The packed food is long lasting. Suitable preservatives and the climate control features of the store give it a longer shelf life than the raw or the cooked food. Further, the food can be made ready for eating within minutes. So, you can have the instant drink in the form of tea or coffee ready within minutes. Another important feature of these value added foods is that there are well defined quality norms which make this food retain its nutritional and health value. The industries are governed by the relevant laws and all the operations take place is a totally hygienic environment with full quality control measures in place. What you get in the end is a quality product having all ingredients in definite proportions and with a standard and unique taste of its own.
Earlier, the type of food which was most commonly launched in the packed form was the snacks items or the so called junk food, such as noodles. However, there has been a shift. Now, the focus of agro-processed food is turning to the main course foods as well as the desserts and the instant drink. Further, there has been an increase in the number and variety of these processed products. There has also been a growth in the number of brands available in the market. With consumers liking these products, there are likely to be many more additions in the product range in the near future.