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Food ingredients in India on an growth curve

Monday, 18 July, 2016, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Food ingredients is the next growth wave in India. This sector is driven by the promising prospects in the food processing sector.

The scene for food ingredients is positive primarily because India regulations through the Food Safety & Standards Act (FSSA) are coming of age. “As a company initiative, Griffith is engaging food inspectors and the industry to comprehend each other’s issues during compliance. We are keen to focus on the problems of street food vendors and ensure that they are able to comply with the required quality standards,” said Sujesh Govindan, director, R&D, projects & process engineering, Griffith Laboratories.

The food ingredients market in India is seeing rapid expansion amidst increasing consumption of processed foods and rising preference for ready-to-eat meals. The key products in this segment are emulsifiers, sweeteners, flavours and food enhancers, and preservatives. These also include dried vegetables, dried fruit and edible nuts, essential oils and oleoresins, honey, herbs, natural colours and flavours, natural gums and resins, pulses, seeds, spices, sugars, vegetable oils and fats, vegetable saps and extracts. These are used in the production of a range of food and beverage products.

There are extremely encouraging signs of growth. The venture capitalists and private equity players are optimistic about the  growth prospects this sector has to offer and are keen to invest. There is considerable scope to increase manufacturing in the areas of product variations for starch, food gum and texture ingredients going by the huge wheat and corn cultivation in the country, on similar lines that of the spice processing sector. India has an impressive food manufacturing base but the market opportunity needs to be tapped like the Western world. Food ingredient players need to capitalise this opportunity at a faster pace, according to Govindan.
The key players in this space are AB Mauri, Camlin Ltd, Griffith Labs, Vivimed Labs, Global Calcium India Pvt. Ltd, Kerry Flavours, Sonorome, Vishaal Natural Food Products, Hima Food Additives, and Dawn Foods & Flavours along with global companies like Cargill (US), Chr. Hansen (Denmark), DuPont (US), Royal DSM (The Netherlands), McCormick (US), ABF, Danisco, Givaudan. Tate & Lyle (UK) is a leading specialist food ingredients and flavours supplier.

Growing population and evolving consumer tastes give thrust to growth of the sector in the coming years. Further, a range of contributing factors are propelling the demand, it includes disposable incomes, dual earning homes,  urbanisation, rise in incomes, and health concerns. Consumers will continue to demand natural colours, flavours, and additives with the awareness of health issues linked with dietary habits.

India is at the beginning of a tremendous growth phase and we expect to see this high growth continue over the next five years. There is immense opportunity for various ingredient manufacturers. The food grade antioxidants are slated to grow at a rapid pace, according to Frost & Sullivan.

The primary strength of India in food ingredients market is its research capability. There is an increased focus on research and development which allows the FI sector to comprehend and evolve innovative, quality flavours and fragrances rapidly in line with consumer taste.

Currently, going by the demand in the industry, emulsifiers, lactose and lactose syrup, molasses, seaweed extracts, pectin and starches, tapioca, sago, arrowroot starch, rosin products, chickpeas and broad & horse beans, kidney beans, onions, tomatoes, garlic, carrots and olives, vegetable saps and extracts are showing good growth.

The global specialty food ingredients market has grown considerably in the last few years and is estimated to grow at a rapid pace in the near future. The application of speciality food ingredients are in bakery, confectionery, dairy, convenience foods, beverages, meat & seafood products and functional food products.

According to research reports, the demand for food and beverage industry with regards to food ingredients product development is focussed on superior quality, fine texture, pleasant flavour, extended shelf life, enhanced nutritional value and cost control.

The regulation in labelling of health claims impact on the market will continue to grow. Manufacturers who can show consumers proof verified by clinical trials, that the product are of high quality and safe for health, will drive the demand for products.

There is a huge demand for sugarfree and low salt variations in food products. Manufacturers in the coming years will see a clear cut demand for food ingredients used for different age-groups and diseases. This will create a new line of products.

Flavouring agents will now need to adhere to a set of norms. Therefore taste makers, beverages, dairy products, bakery, savoury and convenience foods will need to abide by the new rules. According to Sanjay Sharma, CEO, MTR Foods, a visible trend is use of natural ingredients and low salt options.

Global demand for gelatin is expected to reach a volume of almost 396,000 metric tonne by 2017. Demand is driven by the world’s ageing population, increasing awareness of health issues, and end-use industries including pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, and food and beverages. Demand in emerging markets such as India and China will also fuel expansion, along with rising standards of living and the availability of vegetarian gelatin options. Obstacles to industry growth include consumer concerns regarding the potential health threat in using products derived from animal body parts, according to global industry analysts.

The food ingredients market has been growing at a moderate rate over the last five years with growth being majorly driven by increasing localisation of food products, increasing development of mega food parks, surging prevalence of processed food, discernible wide cultural and regional diversities, growing urban middle-class population, and surging demand for ready-to-eat and ready-to- cook products. The market is estimated to be US$764.52 million in 2016 and is anticipated to witness a moderate growth over the next few years.

According to Azoth Analytics research report, India Food Ingredients Market: Trends, Opportunities and Forecasts (2016-2021), the market is dominated by food flavours and taste enhancers. This has led to an increase in use of  flavour enhancers in noodles, influx of different kinds of beverages. Among the segments, sweeteners have the highest growth rate while south is the region which holds the largest share amongst all the regions on account of high number of food processing industries.

The worldwide emulsifier industry is expected to exceed a volume of 2.5 million metric tonne in 2017. Emulsifiers are used not only in food and beverage products but also in the personal care industry. Consumers are readily opting for natural emulsifiers. The market is also being driven by the trend of fat replacement in food products and product innovation, according to a report by Global Industry Analysts.

The global sugar and sweetener market is witnessing the addition of many sweeteners made from corns, such as high fructose corn syrup. Sugar still dominates the market followed by high fructose corn syrup and high-intensity sweeteners. High-intensity sweeteners hold strong market growth potential due to advantages over other traditional caloric sweeteners.

According to BCC research report, bakery yeast represents leading market segment. The use of natural or nature-friendly ingredients for health and nutrition are gaining ground. The fad for  purchasing ‘preservative-free’ or ‘natural’ labelled food article, is driving the ingredient market.

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