The Central government is looking to double food processing levels to at least 20% from present 10% by the end of its five-year term, union minister of food processing industry, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, said on the sidelines of India Retail Forum on Thursday.
Kaur said her recent visit to the UK revealed top retailers had shown interest in the food processing sector with FDI rules having been eased and were looking to tap India’s substantial raw material base.
“Tesco, Sainsburys, Marks & Spencers, Harrods among others have shown interest in the food processing sector and are interested to form joint ventures with Indian companies,” Badal observed.
She added, however, it would be premature to speak of MoUs. “Of the 38,000 queries that the Invest India team received, 18,000 pertained to the food sector,” Badal said.
Food processing is gaining significance as Indians spend 40% of their wallet on food and time spent in the kitchen is reducing, the minister said.
The ministry is also planning to conduct a World Food festival, to showcase the entire farm-to-fork process, and invite global players to participate. In a bid to link farmers with global retailers and processors, India will organise the World Food Forum at Delhi in March 2017.