The Food Processing Industry sector in India is one of the largest in terms of production, consumption, export and growth prospects. Food processing sector covers a wide range of items like fruits and vegetables; meat and poultry; milk and milk products, alcoholic beverages, fisheries, plantation, grains, confectionery, chocolates and cocoa products, mineral water, high protein foods etc. Based on the basic raw material usage, food industry can broadly be classified into plant-based and animal-based industry. Meat industry is one of the important segments of food processing industry in general and livestock/animal-based industry in particular.
India is the fifth largest producer of eggs and ninth largest producer of poultry meat in the world. Compared with meat, poultry industry has registered significant growth. India ranks fifth in the world with annual egg production of 1.61 million tones. Poultry exports are mostly to Maldives and Oman. Indian poultry meat products have good markets in Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Coming back to home, over all, Andhra Pradesh counts for maximum egg production. Within Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad is the city with maximum poultry and hatcheries. Besides the state of Andhra Pradesh, Vishakhapatnam, Chittoor, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and North Eastern States are the major egg contributors. Both public and private sector organizations have their contribution in the poultry industry that has made India among the top players. There are 115 layer and 280 broiler hatcheries producing 1.3 million layer broiler and 280 million broiler parents. They in turn supply 95 million hybrid layer and 275 million broilers, day- old chick. Presently there are only five egg powder plants in India which is considered insufficient in view of growing export demand for different kind of powder - whole egg, yolk and albumen. The scope of foreign investment and state-of-the-art technology in this field is therefore tremendous. The years 2008 and 2009 witnessed a major set-back for the chicken industry which was on the growth graph in the past 10 to 15 years due to the bird flu influenza.
In meat and meat processing sector, poultry meat is the fastest growing animal protein in India. The estimated production of meat was 6.5 million tonnes during 2007-08. India exports more than 500,000 million tonnes of meat of which major share are buffalo meat. Buffalo meat production during 2008-09 is estimated at 2.8 million tonnes and out of this about 21% is exported. Indian buffalo meat is witnessing strong demand in international markets due to its lean character and it's near organic nature. India is the 6th largest exporter of bovine meat in the world. In 2008-09, India's export of meat products (including buffalo meat, sheep/goat meat, poultry products, animal casings and processed meat) stood at U$ 1.25 billion.
The increasing prices of chicken and eggs are due to growing demand from consumers. Consumers have also shifted to poultry products because mutton prices are almost at par. There is a huge potential for the growth of the poultry industry, provided consumer is educated and massive awareness programmes initiated. India is fifth-ranked broiler producer in the world with an estimated production of 2.3 million tonne of broiler meat per annum. However, there is a huge scope for the growth of poultry industry as the country's annual per capita consumption is only 2.4 kilos. Per-capita consumption of broiler meat has grown by 10 per cent in the last 15 years.
India is third largest producer of fish (7 million tonnes per annum).In India nearly 10 million people, living in 4,000 coastal villages and more number of interior villages depends on fisheries sector. The export of marine products has steadily grown over the years - from a mere US$ 0.84 million in 1961-62 to US$ 1,849.08 million in 2008-09. Marine products account for approximately 1.1 % of the total exports from India.
Frozen shrimp continued to be the single largest item of export in terms of value accounting for about 44% in the total export earnings. In terms of quantity, fish accounted for the major share at 40% (shrimp 21%).European Union (EU) was the largest market during the year 2008-09 with a percentage share of 32.6% followed by China 14.8%, Japan 14.6% , USA 11.9%, South East Asia 10%, Middle East 5.5% and Other Countries 10.6%. There is a tremendous growth potential and good scope in this sector.