India is one of the world’s largest consumers of food and the third largest producer of agriculture, according to 2015 Top Markets Report on Cold Chain by International Trade Administration. India also holds the distinction of being the largest producer of milk in the world and boats of having the largest livestock population too.
The Indian Food Processing Industry
Food processing refers to value addition to agricultural or horticultural produce. The food processing sector comprises two segments- Primary (packaged fruits and vegetables, milk, etc constituting around 62% in value) and Value added (processed fruits and vegetables, juices, jam & jelly etc constituting around 38 % share in the total processed food). According to Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the food processing industry accounts for 32% of India’s total food industry and 13% of Indian exports. The industry ranks fifth in terms of exports, production and consumption.
Whereas the food processing industry looks promising for India, however it must be considered that the local markets or farmers often have to rely on inefficient supply chain or middlemen. The farmers, at times, do not have the requisite infrastructure, technical know-how or capital investment to channelize into cold storage and supply chain development. Add to that, the fragmented infrastructure of cold warehouses, transportation and associated services. This is a major reason why we require integrated logistical support, and in particular, cold chain solutions to enable easy accessibility and smooth flow of produce from farms to table, fresh and safe. It would also enable farmers to extend the life cycle of perishable products, traverse long distances, reach wider market segments and larger consumer base. Bridging this gap between farmers and logistical support is Gati Kausar – a subsidiary of the logistics giant Gati – whose mission is to empower farmers through seamless access to markets with maximum productivity and minimum wastage thus opening multiple possibilities connecting them with buyers across the country.
The Cold Chain Segment
Around 40% of our produce is wasted due to inadequate cold chain infrastructure and one third of losses incur during storage and transit leading experts to opine that India has less than half the capacity to meet its current cold chain needs.
Temperature-controlled storage and distribution in supply chain management or cold chain management has two main segments, namely, refrigerated transport and surface storage. Whereas the former uses refrigerated trucks, containers and cars for transport of perishable products, the latter comprises temperature-controlled warehouses for storage. Both the segments require technical and quality standards to ensure longer shelf life and selling value of products and are important for the growth of cold chain management solutions. The Global Cold Chain Alliance states that the cold storage market in India has been growing at a rate of 25% annually.
Hence, with stringent quality and hygiene norms along with integrated cold chain market, the food processing industry would receive the much-needed boost to catapult it to global arena.