“Focusing on consumer-centric innovations and delivering healthy eating options will help India’s meat industry grow much faster” said Mr. B. Soundararajan, Chairman, CLFMA of India, on the occasion of World Health Day, being celebrated on 7 April.
“Health through food is the mantra for today’s consumers and they want health without compromising taste or other sensory attributes in food. Further, today’s consumers are more demanding in terms of safety, quality and traceability. India is in the middle of an exciting demographic and economic transformation and food consumption patterns and preferences are evolving much faster than the previous few decades” he added.
In fast growing developing economies like India, South East Asia and some parts of Africa, demand for protein is increasing significantly. Consumption of processed foods including dairy products and meat is bound to go up significantly but only about 3 to 5 percent of the chicken meat consumed in India is processed.
Soundararajan mentioned “Be it dairy, poultry or aquaculture, the livestock sector supports livelihoods of millions of rural Indians mainly, smallholder farmers. We produce over 63 billion eggs and we are one of the most efficient producers of chicken meat as well as our FCR stands at around 1.6 is one of the best globally. I am optimistic about the poultry sector’s growth around 8% in the near future as described in a recent report by the credit rating agency ICRA. The dairy sector is a buzz with new product launches predominantly with health-focused innovations. But it is extremely critical for Indian meat industry to maintain its growth and strengthen its competitiveness in the coming years.”
As one of the most efficient producers of animal protein, Indian livestock sector is well-recognized for its role in ensuring the nation’s food and nutrition security, overall economic growth and most importantly, alleviation of poverty and hunger.
“But recent media campaigns propagating false claims on health and safety aspects of meat appear to be driven by vested interests and by those who have no idea about the ground realities in terms of socio-economic and malnutrition aspects. At least two hundred million Indians go to bed hungry every day and one in five children are malnourished. India is already having over 63 million diagnosed with diabetes and lifestyle related Non-Communicable Diseases are becoming more significant public health challenges. While we don’t know the true motives behind these scare campaigns, one thing is clear that borrowed ideologies from the Western world will neither help the consumers nor producers. Rather, they do more harm and push millions of poor and vulnerable sections of the population further deep into poverty and malnourishment. On World Health Day, it is important for us to remind ourselves that it is a shared responsibility of everyone including industry professionals, researchers, academicians, nutritionists, doctors, and media, who are connected with human health, agribusiness, and food sectors, must step forward to fight myths with facts. It’s time for us to focus on health and nutrition and make animal protein more affordable to the consumers” said Soundararajan.