India has a major agribusiness sector which has achieved remarkable successes over the last three and a half decades. Unprocessed foods are susceptible to spoilage by biochemical processes, microbial attack and infestation. The right post harvest practices such as good processing techniques, and proper packaging, transportation and storage (of even processed foods) can play a significant role in reducing spoilage and extending shelf life. The industry consists of segments like processed fruits and vegetables, cereal based products, dairy products, meat, poultry and fishery products, beverages and confectionary. The global processed food market is estimated at $3.2 trillion. The Indian food market is estimated at $182 billion. Food processing industry in India is growing at 14% annum.The total food production in India is likely to double in the next ten years and there is an opportunity for large investments in food and food processing technologies especially in areas of canning, dairy and food processing, specialty processing, packaging, frozen food or refrigeration and thermo Processing. Fruits & vegetables, fisheries, milk & milk products, meat & poultry, packaged or convenience foods, alcoholic beverages & soft drinks and grains are important sub-sectors of the food processing industry. Health food and health food supplements are another rapidly rising segment of this industry which is gaining vast popularity amongst the health conscious. Coming to the snack food sector, application of modern technology has helped in enriching the quality of produce. It has tremendous growth opportunities in the country. Growing population, rapid urbanization, changing consumer preferences etc are expected to keep the demand increasing in future too. With a well-integrated supply chain and a good marketing strategy, a tremendous opportunity lies for snack food industry in India.
India's food processing industry is expected to benefit from this and grow to around $260-billion from the present USD 200-billion in the next 6-years, according to industry expert. It is estimated that potential for processed foods is estimated to reach from Rs 8,200-billion in 2009-10 to Rs13, 500-billion by 2014-15. India produces 41% of the world's mangoes, 30% of cauliflowers, 28 per cent of tea, 23% of cashews, 36 per cent of green peas and 10% of onions.The Indian diary sector is around $ 62 b and will grow to $108 b. The Indian food production is estimated at 500 million tonnes and food processing industry has immense potential.India is a large and growing market for food products as it is growing at about 1.6%annum. On the global food sector, the food products industry is expected to reach $3,137.2-billion by 2011.
In India, only 6% of total agro output of India is currently processed as against 80% in some developed countries leaving a large potential to be tapped in this sector.
The Indian government has formulated a Vision 2015, to triple the size of the food processing industry, from the current $ 70 b to around $ 210 b, enhancing her global share to 3%, increasing value addition to 35%, from the current 20% and raising the level of processing of perishables to 20%.The most promising sub-sectors includes -Soft-drink bottling, Confectionery manufacture, Fishing, aquaculture, Grain-milling and grain-based products, Meat and poultry processing, Alcoholic beverages, Milk processing, Tomato paste, Fast-food, Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, Food additives, flavors etc.