Dehydrated onion products demand has sharply increased in India after prices of onion gained in domestic markets. According to dehydrated onion players, demand has almost doubled in past three months mainly for onion powder. The industry expects about 20,000 tonne consumption by the end of December, compared to about 10,000 tonne last year.
India produces about 70,000-75,000 tonne of dehydrated onion every year. Out of it, nearly 15% is consumed within the country while the rest 85% is exported to Russia, Europe, Middle East and Africa, among others. Hotels, ready to cook foods and catering industry are the main consumers of dehydrated onion. India currently has 95 dehydration units, of which around 75 are located in Mahuva block of Bhavnagar district of Gujarat.
“As the onion prices have gone up, demand for dehydrated onion has increased in India. Ready to cook industry, masala producers, and hotels are buying heavily at this time. We are expecting double consumption of dehydrated onion could reach to about 20,000 tonne this year,” said Vitthalbhai Koradia, managing director, Maharaja Dehydration.
Even though the demand for dehydrated onion has increased, consumption in households is still negligible. According to the industry, people are not much aware about onion dehydration and its benefits at the time of rising prices of fresh onion. Koradia said, “At the time when onion prices are soaring, use of dehydrated onion could help the consumers. A kilo of dehydrated onion is equivalent to around 10 kg fresh onion. However, as the people are not aware about it, consumption of such products have been limited in India. Domestically, consumption of dehydrated onion is about 10,000 tonne, of which about 800-1,000 tonne is consumed by households. The ratio is about 40% in European countries and America.”
He alleged that while there is no government support to create awareness for dehydrated onion, producing companies are trying to promote the product on their own. “In India, most of the people prefer to eat fresh vegetables, which restricted the use of dehydrated onion. We should understand that it is like fresh onion, hygienic and affordable too. We are trying to create awareness about it among consumers. Though the result is not so encouraging but we will keep trying,” said Asgar Chhatariya, managing director of Chhatariya Foods and former secretary of the association.