UK companies should invest in India’s food sector which is booming with increasing income and changing consumer preferences, Minister for food processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal said today.
The minister, who arrived in London on a three-day visit, was addressing a roundtable titled “Food Processing in India: Collaborative Opportunities” organised by the Indian High Commission here and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
“With increasing disposable income and changing consumer preferences in India, retail and e-commerce are booming in the food segment and this is where the opportunity lies,” Badal told potential investors, which included large UK retailers, specialty foods businesses, e-retailers and beverage manufacturers.
“Over the past two years, the government of India has taken a number of policy decisions to spur vibrant growth in the food processing segment. With such a progressive policy outlook, we will offer full support towards new collaborations and greater investment,” she said.
Senior representatives from firms like Sainsbury, Holland & Barret, Diageo, Ty-Phoo Tea, British Agri Food Consortium, Food and Drink Federation, Whittard of Chelsea, and Food and Drink Exporters Association were among those who participated in the roundtable.
The minister also has one-to-one meetings with senior leadership of Sainsbury plc, Tesco plc and Marks & Spencer plc and will be meeting senior leadership of Partridges, McCormick & Company, Waitrose, Holland and Barrett International, Morrisons and Harrods over the next two days to discuss trade and investment prospects into India.
The Indian government recently allowed 100 per cent FDI through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) route in marketing of food products produced and manufactured in India.
“This path-breaking initiative has opened up vast opportunities for international companies to invest in India in the food processing supply and marketing chain.
“Additionally, attractive incentives have been established by central and state governments to include capital subsidies, tax rebates, and reduced custom and excise duties. Increasing focus is also being given to supply-chain related infrastructure, such as cold storage, abattoirs and food parks,” an official statement said.
Badal is accompanied on her UK tour by J P Meena, special secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries; Hardeep Singh, PS to Minister of Food Processing; and Piruz Khambatt, co-chairman, CII National Committee on Food Processing Industries, and chairman and managing director, Rasna Private Limited.