Recently, Sagrika Sanjay from Food Marketing & Technology magazine spoke to Mr. Yogesh Mudra, MD, UBM-India who shared his views on upcoming Fi India & Hi. Excerpts…
Q: Tell us about the event?
Fi India & Hi is one of the most comprehensive B2B shows in the Indian sub-continent for the food and health industry. Annually rotating between India’s two unique, promising food hubs i.e. Mumbai and New Delhi, this year, the expo will take place at the Bombay Exhibition Centre in Mumbai, and aims to offer the industry an opportunity to source high quality ingredients, network with industry professionals, learn the latest industry trends & innovations, and expand the market share.
Q: What are UBM’s objectives for this edition of Fi India and Hi?
UBM India’s objective for the 12th edition of Fi India & Hi is to offer an international showcase of such ingredients and in turn, help leverage India’s wide ranging and large raw material base for food processing industries.
With a legacy of 12 years, Fi India will once again feature 3 days of free, on-site seminars on health ingredients, food processing and packaging, organised in alliance with a variety of Indian associations and will cover both technical developments and market trends. With the introduction of A Guided Discovery Tour and Expo Foodtec Pavilion, the guided tour will comprise visitors accompanying Nutrimarketing experts at the exhibition with a focus on topics such as ‘Everything Proteins’, ‘Heath & Wellness’ and ‘Bakery Innovation’. Other exciting highlights of the expo this year include an event which will be dedicated to Food Technology, Processing and Packaging companies.
This pavilion alongside Fi India & Hi will provide a one stop solution to all the manufacturing requirements of food manufacturers; a comprehensive China Pavilion; a Health Ingredients Trail and a special Fi India & Hi workshop, for the third year in a row. The workshop includes a two-day live demonstration on the latest food trends by Celebrity Chef Rakhee Vaswani that includes sessions on — Indian Fusion Dhamaaka, Fancy Bread Making, Exotic Eggless Desserts and Festive Fiesta – Party appetizers and dip.
Q: How was the response from the industries and new trends that you have seen?
The Food ingredients industry in India has a miniscule size of just $700 mn (in 2016) and is less than 0.2 percent of the Global Food Ingredient Industry estimated at $400 bn. The market is dominated by food flavours and taste enhancers with increasing adoption of natural flavours, augmenting application 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 the account of high number of food processing industries.
Two main ingredients that are always in demand are dietary fibre and antioxidants because of their importance in enhancing human health.
We think that the “change” in the Indian Food Ingredients sector has started and will gain momentum over time, as the industry – increases focus to develop new products, expand the basket of value-added products, grow exports, and invest in R&D. Also, with this “change” in the industry, we are seeing a growing interest from the private equity community to invest in the sector.
Talking about another key segment of the industry – the Food Processing Industry (FPI) in India serves as a vital link between the agriculture and manufacturing sectors of the economy. Strengthening this link is critical to reduce wastage of agricultural raw materials, improve the value of agricultural produce by increasing shelf-life as well as by fortifying the nutritive value of the food products and ensure remunerative prices to farmers as well as affordable prices to consumers. The industry also assumes importance in the national economy due to the immense employment generation opportunities it offers and the export revenue it earns. The Government too is trying to support the industry by formulating favourable policies. With adequate government focus on infrastructural support, research, development and technological innovation in this sector, India could alleviate its domestic concerns on food security, malnutrition and food inflation.
Q: What has been the role of GST and demonetisation on companies and their growth?
GST has been a very significant financial reform in the economic system of our country. Given how extensive this new reform is, it was certain to attract some concerns. We need to give the economy some time to adjust to the new normal. Some more months down the line, the gradual benefits of GST will start to trickle in. It includes transforming the whole gamut of indirect taxes such as VAT, Service Tax, central excise tax, octroi into one unified tax. It is not only going to simplify taxation norms but will also bring in transparency across sectors in the months and years to come. With GST expected to have a considerable impact across all sectors, the boost to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) will also be significant. An increase in productivity and efficiency will also further enhance India’s position as a leading market for FDI investments. With GST, B2B commerce which is encouraged through our exhibitions would result in a more efficient supply chain where tax credits flow seamlessly and outside state sales and purchases are not penalized.