The Indian Food Processing Industry is one of the biggest and busiest in the world today. According to United Nations Industrial Development Organization’s data, India produces more than 600 million tonnes of food products. Further, the data also states that the Indian Food Processing Industry accounts for a whopping 22% of the country’s GDP. Therefore, the Food Processing Industry is a critical part of our country and its economy.
Being a leader of the Industry, India needs to stay on top of all trends and technological advancements introduced in the field and make the most of them to retain its position. Thus, to keep up with the developments in recent times, provisions have been made by the Industry for the enhanced use of technology in its processes. For example, the snacks segment, being one of the major segments of the Food Processing Industry in India has been rapidly adopting automation in all its processes. The benefits of this shift can be seen in the surge that the sector is showing, which is discussed below.
COVID and its Impact on the Indian Food Industry
Traditionally, Indian consumers were more inclined towards purchasing unpackaged foods, since they were sceptical about processed foods or snacks. This had made consumers opt for purchasing loose food products from their long-trusted shopkeepers. However, the advent of the global pandemic has transformed the landscape of the Indian Food Market. COVID has necessitated greater attention towards sanitation, consequently changing the preference of the market. People are now more incentivized to buy packaged snacks that require minimal handling that also comes along with the additional protection of packaging. The packets also label the product and make the purchasing process easier by stating all relevant information on the cover. Additionally, the packaging allows easy and hygienic transportation of food across places, thereby opening up the market in lesser developed areas.
The Intervention of Technology in Food Processing
The trend of automation is fast picking up in today’s times. According to a Report by Meticulous Research, the Global Food Automation Market is expected to reach US$ 29.4 billion by 2027 with a CAGR of 9.5%. The Report further states that the Asia Pacific region is one of the leading areas of development, with India having a notable presence in the group.
As per an Invest India Report, the output of the Indian Food Processing Industry is expected to reach US$ 535 billion by 2025-26. To enhance this growth further, there is a necessity to make the processes more efficient and quicker. Thus, the Industry has started leaning on technology for obtaining the extra support that is required to increase the efficacy of the operations further.
The Food Manufacturing process is long and complex. It extends to include several smaller tasks ranging from cooking to packing. With the technological sectors experiencing a surge in the growth in the recent years, it has become possible for businesses in the Food Processing Industry to introduce new technology that can sometimes render the require assistance and support for their entire process.
Benefits of Automation
In recent times, automation has been introduced into the Food and Snacks Processing Industry to increase the efficacy of the work that is being done. Moreover, automation of processes can help in minimizing the costs associated with hiring of excessive manpower for performing the various tasks. A machine would be able to easily perform small and routine tasks for long hours with competence. Further, machines are immune to feelings of fatigue, sickness or boredom that has the potential to hinder the productivity of workers. It should also be noted that there is no holiday for a machine, which also would require only minimal maintenance. All of these can help businesses in making a big cutback on the expenditure in terms of both money and time.
Apart from the savings in terms of time and money, as stated above, automation would require lesser use of ingredients while also being able to ensure that no compromise is made on the look or taste of the product. In addition to this, automation helps fulfill the safety and quality norms associated with the manufacture of food products. Lastly, since a machine is performing the task repetitively, there is uniformity in the work that is being performed by it. Therefore, the chance of mistakes or gaps in food quality or taste can be minimized to a great extent.
Even from a customer point of view, this move can be seen as a victory, since there is a higher probability for reduction in the company’s monetary and time-based costs that would ultimately reflect in the product pricing, apart from ensuring easier accessibility towards the food products by the consumers.
All of these factors point to the fact that machines could be a much more suitable option for the processes involved in food processing and that automation is certainly expected to be the future for this Industry.
Even as Food Processing Industry achieved sufficient progress over the last decade with the introduction of Technology and Automation in their production operations, the pandemic had only quickened the process. More and more consumers have started placing their trust in processed foods and snacks, which in turn have helped the Food Processing Industry in achieving noteworthy growth in the recent years. Judging by the current trends, there is a higher probability that businesses may adopt automation even for the most intricate of their processes. As the Industry becomes more and more reliant on technical and mechanical help for its several complex processes, the efficiency and profits of the businesses operating in the food processing sector are expected to rise further in the coming years.