India has made a huge priority to reduce massive food waste, Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has told the American industry leaders seeking their investment and technology in this regard. India is one of the largest producers of food, as the largest producer of milk and second largest producer of fruit and vegetables in the world. This huge raw material base, paired with a growing 1.3 billion population, presents vast investment and partnership opportunities for the US, Badal said. “However, India is currently only processing ten per cent of its food, resulting in enormous food waste,” said Badal, Minister of Food Processing Industries at an industry round table organised by US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF). Badal is currently on a weeklong visit to the US to meet the agriculture industry and food processing companies in Chicago, Washington and New York City.
During her visit, she hosted one on one meetings with industry executives from US companies including Pepsico, Amazon, The Hershey Company, Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, Kraft Heinz, and Honeywell, among others. “With a growing country and population, the Indian government has made it a huge priority to reduce this waste,” Badal said. In the last three years, India has focused on reducing food waste through a war against food waste, she said. Badal aims to partner with the US industry by borrowing best practices, technology, and innovation, in exchange for providing US companies with untapped investment opportunities that exist in India’s enormous consumer base. With the fastest growing economy in the world, India possesses a USD 6-billion-dollar food sector, of which 70 percent is food retail. This market is set to triple by 2020. In addition, an average Indian spends almost 40 per cent of income on food.
Over the next six years, this expenditure is set to double. This makes India an attractive destination for foreign investment, Badal said. India offers immense possibilities, said Mukesh Aghi, president of USISPF. Badal’s visit comes ahead of the mega World Food India show being held in New Delhi from November 3-5. This global event aims to facilitate partnerships between Indian and international businesses and investors. The conclave would be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Encompassing the entire food spectrum from production to consumption, World Food India aims to create a better sourcing environment, which will enable higher returns for farmers, create employment, and foster entrepreneurship.