Interview/Bright Prospects for F&B “We See a Bright Future for the Food Processing Industry”

Author / Editor: Swati Deshpande / Dominik Stephan

Views of Managing Director, Process Plant Equipment and Food Processing & Packaging Machinery, VDMA, Richard Clemens – India is a diverse country with interesting food culture, and this feature opens doors for food processing machine manufactures from across the world. Acknowledging the Indian mindset, numerous German companies have been working in India in this field. Alternatively, ‘Made in Germany’ technology is well-accepted by Indian buyers. Here is Clemens’ take on the future of the food processing industry in India.

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(Picture: Michael Siebert (CC0))

PROCESS: How do you perceive the growth of the food processing sector globally as well as in India?

Richard Clemens: This industry sector is strongly driven by criteria such as a growing population and an overall rising income. In recent years, the worldwide production of food products has been continuously increasing, which is also a norm in India. Also, globalization has given us new opportunities. The demand for food processing and packaging related machinery and plants have grown incrementally. This situation makes the climate favorable for German manufacturers who wish to start or expand their businesses in India.

PROCESS: Please elaborate on how the Indian food processing sector is evolving? How do you see the ‘Make in India’ campaign influencing the growth of the process industry in the country?

Clemens: I believe that India has a strong backlog demand for modern food processing and packaging technology. The local mechanical engineering industry has undergone excellent development and thus, many of our members have their own production sites in the country.

In view of the huge population, strong raw material base and immense loss of food products owing to inadequate processing and packaging, we see a bright future for the industry.

Furthermore, the Indian government has planned to build several food parks in the country, which is an additional encouraging factor for German food processing machine manufacturers.

PROCESS: The Indian market is considered to be cost sensitive. In this backdrop, how is the approach of Indian customers towards adopting German state-of-the-art technology?

Clemens: In my opinion, prices of food processing and packaging machineries are more or less the same across the globe. German manufacturers individually serve their customers and deliver tailor made machineries, which is clear a competitive advantage and secret behind their success. Their export ratio amounts to more than 90 per cent.

Further to all price discussions, the lifetime cost of a machine has to be taken into consideration. One should not only concentrate on the purchase price. Factors such as energy efficiency of the machine or less consumption of raw/packaging materials make the process cost efficient.

Furthermore, Indian customers greatly appreciate ‘Made in Germany’ technology. If you observe German export to India in the field of food processing and packaging machinery, since 2011, it has been over €100 million. Only in 2014, it dropped to €94 million.

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