Food Safety and Packaging Why the F&B Industry Needs to Give Top Priority to Safety Management
Food safety management is one of the most important aspects for the food processing industry. Especially in a country such as India, where 21 per cent of GDP can be attributed to the spend on food & food products by the Indian consumer, it is essential that the production environment be controlled properly.
India is the world’s larges producer and consumer of food products. The food industry has a major share in contributing towards economic growth of the country. The spending on food and food products amounts to nearly 21 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and constitutes the largest portion of the Indian consumer spend. The growth of the food sector is owing to the immense potential for value addition, particularly within the food processing industry.
Food processing is the transformation of raw ingredients, by physical or chemical means, into food, or of food into other forms. Reports from India Brand Equity Foundation suggests that the food processing industry accounts for 32 per cent of the country’s total food market, 14 per cent of the manufacturing GDP, 13 per cent of India’s exports and 6 per cent of the total industrial investment. A well developed food processing industry will increase farm gate prices, reduce wastages, ensure value addition, promote crop diversification, generate as export earnings. However, processing activity is still at a nascent stage in India with low penetration.
Why food processing is gaining importance
Rapid urbanisation, increasing disposable income, growth in organised food retail, changing lifestyle and food consumption patterns are the major factors contributing towards the growth of the food processing industry. A decade back, the share of cereal products was the highest. Today, the growth rate for fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products have surpassed that of cereals and pulses. This signals the need to diversify food production processes to match the pace of changing consumption preferences.
It is very important to create a structure facilitating distribution of healthier and safer products, adapting to large variations in the costs of raw materials and energy, meeting the changing habits and tastes of consumers and the continual changes in regulations, taking into account the necessity of constructing more environmentally friendly ‘green’ factories, contributing towards feeding a greater number of people, and so on. These are just a few challenges that make the food and beverage industry a world apart where, in order to give the best, competitiveness and responsibility must be managed hand-in-hand and without any compromise.