Potato is probably the most popular food item in the Indian diet and India is one of the largest producers of potato. It is grown all over the country with Uttar Pradesh growing the maximum quantity. Potato is a very rich source of starch. It also contains phosphorus, calcium, iron and some vitamin C & A. The protein calorie ratio is high. Boiling potatoes increases their protein content and almost doubles their calcium content. It is vastly consumed as a vegetable and is also used in various forms such as starch, flour, alcohol, and dextrin and livestock fodder.Besides being used as a daily food item in various vegetable preparations, potato today increasingly finds use in the form of chips or wafers as snacks food. The potato chips and wafers are popular processed food items that give considerable value addition to potatoes. The rise of the 'snacking' phenomenon is now fairly well documented on an international scale, although the rate and extent of development do vary from country to country. With the breakdown of formal meals, consumers are increasingly tending to eat a number of smaller snacks during the day rather than three full meals. Furthermore, in an increasingly fast paced financially well-off society there is growing demand for snacks that are easy to buy, store and eat, with an increasing number being eaten 'on the move'. With this background, the potato wafers and chips market seems to hold good growth prospects. According to global snack market analysis, potato chips account for an average of 35% of the total savory snacks market. The main consumers of potato chips and wafers are families especially in urban and semi-urban areas. Besides, hotels, restaurants, canteens, army establishments require potato chips in significant quantities.
Potato is a highly nutritive food and the crop can be produced in 90 to 100 days. Its wide adaptability in planting and harvesting makes it an ideal crop to grow between two major crops. India's potato production has seen a phenomenal increase since the 1950s, mainly due to strong demand from the processing industry and remunerative returns. According to the Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI), the area under potato rose by almost 547% since the 50s, while yield rose by 267% and overall output jumped by 146%. In 2008-09, potato production (which is a rabi or winter crop) is estimated to be around 28 million tonne as against 25 million tonne achieved last year. India' potato output is likely to rise by 5.1 percent to a record 32.7 million tonnes in 2009/10.
India ranks third contributing around 7.5% to the world’s production. Production wise India has always remained in the top ten since last twenty years. The states of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Bihar accounting for more than 75 percent of area under cultivation and about 80 percent of total production; Europe is the largest per capita consumer, followed by North America and Latin America. Fresh potatoes are exported to Sri Lanka, UAE, Mauritius, Nepal, Singapore, Maldives, Kuwait etc.
The overall size of the snack food market is estimated at Rs 45 to Rs 50 billion. The market is reported to be growing at 7 to 8 % annually. Potato chips is estimated to constitute nearly 85% of India’s total salty snack food market of about Rs 2,500 crore. In the Rs 19 billion branded(organized )snacks market, constituting over 40% of the market by value, Frito-Lay is estimated to command a market share of 45%, followed by Haldiram at 27% and ITC at 16%. The branded snacks market accounted for 16% by value and 12% by volume sales in 2007. According to a projection by Euromonitor International, the branded snacks market would reach a value of Rs 35 billion by 2012.
The organized snacks category is sub-divided into the traditional segment (bhujia, chanachur and the like), Western segment (potato chips, cheese balls etc.) and the newly established finger snacks segment, which is an adaptation of traditional offerings in the western format.
The leading brands in the market are Lays, Bennie’s, Uncle Chips, Ruffles, Bingos and others.
ooking to the estimated demand of nearly 50 million tonne of potato by 2020, for a nearly 1.3 million population, the production and productivity will keep rising. According to a study by McKinsey & Co, the Indian food market will grow two fold by 2025 with the rapidly growing Indian economy and improving lifestyles of Indians contributing in a big way to this growth. The market size for the food consumption category in India is expected to grow from US$ 155 billion in 2005 to US$ 344 billion in 2025 at a compound annual growth rate of 4.1 per cent according to market survey. With a growing population and rising per capita income with different lifestyles consumers are willing to pay a premium for both value-added private and branded products, creating immense opportunities for manufacturers and retailers in this sector.