By Vijayendran M*

Traditional foods consumption is deeply rooted in culture and an expression of people’s values and identity. Certain tastes are linked to cultural backgrounds, and by eating them, we not only satisfy our cravings, but also gain a sense of belonging.The development of processed Indian traditional meals has been driven by consumer tastes. The idea of traditional dishes in packaged form has also been supported by the demand for rapid cooking choices as a result of changing lifestyles. The most pressing issue currently facing Indian Traditional Food Processing (PITF) companies is product standardization by replicating homemade recipes on an industrial scale.The potential for growth in the Indian processed food sector is high due to consumer resistance to Western foods and positioning of current Western foods as “in-between” meals or children’s snacks.PITF were created as a result of consumer preferences for traditional foods and a desire for convenience, so their potential remains untapped.Current dominance in the traditional processed foods sector bybeverages,snacks, and sweets.


PITF has witnessed incremental attention in recent years due to FSSAI regulations, technology developments, social changes, and many more macro developments. ProcessedIndian traditional Foods, encompassing food service and packaged foods, has been part of this trend with an increasing contribution within the foods industry.Trends observed with changing consumer perception towards traditional tastes with healthier options and rising demand for Indian products in the global market is evident from the presence of Haldiram’s and Bikanervalain over seventy countries in the Indian snacks sector and look out of for innovative and convenient food products with traditionalflavorsamong the consumers, emphasizing the use of healthier ingredients. Kellogg’s, a global player, tailor products such as breakfast cereals flavoursthandaibadam, Kesarpista and rose badam, and Upma (a popular south Indian dish) for Indians

Processed Traditional Beverages

The organized traditional beverage market in India is small and growing rapidly, but the unorganized market is substantial.Customers are looking for healthier alternatives as carbonates grow slowly across the globe. Due to the growing demand for healthier alternatives, the development of the traditional beverage sector in India has the potential to dominate the beverages market. Because of this, Demand for Indian processed traditional beverages will rise further. In a market dominated by soft drink multinationals, the move to provide Indian traditional tastes in the beverage sector, such as nimbupaani, tender coconut water, and sugarcane juice, is expected to bring about change.Dabur, Paper Boat (Hector Beverages), Milk Mantra, and Raw Pressery are a few companies that have beverage products with a traditional touch. The range of traditional beverages are panakam (South), kokum, thandai (North), aampanna, golgappakapani, lassi, flavored milk shakes (curcumin, mango etc.), and conventional fruit juices without additives or artificial flavors.

New investmentsin the traditional beverage sectorin 2022:Atraditional snack-food company in India,Haldiram’s, is opening its own manufacturing facility in Nagpur for traditional beverages like AamPanna, JalJeera, a variety of Lassi products.Beverage start-up,Lahori has raised fundingto sells packaged nimboo (lemon)soda, kachaaam (raw mango) soda, and shikanji (Indian lemonade). It represents the potential of the sector.

Processed Traditional Snacks

The Indian savoury snacks market can be broadly segmented into western snacks and traditional snacks. Western snacks continue to dominate the organized market, with traditional snacks being the unorganized withethnicflavors. Traditionally, snacks are prepared from ingredients commonly available at home without a great deal of preparation. Indian Organised processed traditional snacks key players are Halidram’s, Bikaji, Bikanerwala, Townbus, A1Chips, A2B and more.Broaden their consumer base and expand their product portfolio, Indian snack manufacturers are introducing value-added products in various traditional flavors, textures, and seasonings. The trend indicates that consumption of traditional snacks is increasing as the leading international players enter this sector with their diversified product offerings. PepsiCo India introduced Lay’s Wafer Style in ‘Salt with Pepper’ and ‘Sundried Chilli’ flavors, inspired by the traditional home-dried pappadams that are part of a traditional South Indian meal.

The two main categories of flavors used in snacks are traditional flavors and international flavors Traditional flavors include chilli, masala, tomato, ginger, garlic etc., and international flavors are BBQ, Jalapeno, Pizza, Maggie, and Mexican. There is high demand for local flavors in snacks and trend is towards traditionalflavors. Many key players have introduced new products with traditional flavors; Parle has introduced new products in the namkeen sector making use of traditional masala flavor (Chatkeenslitechiwda, Chatkeens Gujarati mixture, Chatkeensfaralichiwdo)

Traditional Sweets

The Indian sweets market is largely unorganisedclassified as dairy, cereal and pulse and nuts and fruit basedor different combinations of different ingredients. Standalone mithai shops are located throughout India and sell regional as well as traditional sweets such as Gulab-Jamun, Rasgulla, and a variety of Barfis. Product offerings from organised players in the sweet market include tinned GulabJamun, Rasgulla, Bengali mithai, and so on. Because of the pressing issues of hygiene and safety caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a gradual increase in demand for packaged sweets.Haldiram’s, Bikaji, Bikano are the major players in the organizedsweet industry which offer a wide range of packed sweets.

Chocolate in traditional taste, Nestle KitKat Cheerful Break Mango Flavor was recently launched in India, with the aroma of traditional Indian alphonso mango.

Government Support

In India, there are thousands of unorganized traditional processing units.The Government of Indiais taking all necessary steps to boost investments and organise the food processing industrythrough the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (Mofpi) by sanctioning 42 Mega Food Parks (MFPs) to be set up in the country under the Mega Food Park Scheme.

The Government of India is commemorating the ‘AzadiKaAmritMahotsav’ to mark the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.

As part of the celebrations, Food Processing Week 2.0 was held by MoFPI in April 2022as part of the ‘KisanBhagidari, PrathmiktaHamari’ Campaign by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare development this social media campaign helps development of the food processing sector of the food processing sector and will greatly benefit the farmers, producers, processors and consumers


Snacks, beverages,and sweets are key PITF sectors with enormous potential but are largely untapped in India due to unorganised disposition. Since global key players recognise the potential of the Indian market, they tailor their products to traditional tastes. There are huge opportunities for start-ups and private equity companies in the traditional food category here; if Indian companies fail in this category, international companies will occupy this space.The consumer will be the sole decider of what food he or she will consume and the amount that food should cost. Food producers have the responsibility of providing healthy, tasty, and safe food by consumer preference. All the stakeholders, the government, food industry, the consumer, and nutritionists, should agree for it to be a winning game for all.

At F1rst, we are committed to addressing PITF’s key issues such as affordability, packaging, processing technologies, ingredient price stability, availability, shelf life, fresh taste, nutrition, taxation, technology, and innovation, among others, through a series of events and jointly taking a step toward growing PITF.

 * About the author: VijayendranM, isan Associate Project Manager at F1rstwith a postgraduate in Bio-ChemicalTechnology (BCT). For more informationabout this study, you can reach out toVijayendran@fi