India’s growth is a massive opportunity for food firms

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Mumbai at dusk: huge growth is expected in India's food market in the next two years
Mumbai at dusk: huge growth is expected in India's food market in the next two years

Related tags Food

UK food and drink manufacturers are being urged to target India’s £305bn industry as it is expected to grow rapidly in the next two years.

A new report co-written by India’s Yes Bank and Santander UK claimed that the country’s food and foodservices market were expected to grow from £305bn to £500bn ​by 2020. 

The food market in the country, according to the report, experiences both very high levels of wastage and low levels of processing. Additionally, only 25% of the sector is currently considered ‘organised’. The report stated that this presented trade and investment opportunities for UK companies in diverse areas. 

Major opportunities existed in tea, biscuits, condiments and organic sectors, it claimed. Food companies wanting to manufacture locally could be supported by the Indian government, which had put in place incentives for businesses. 


The report also highlighted opportunities to export the equipment, knowledge and expertise required to build a robust food processing infrastructure. 

It also exhorted UK food and drink firms (including supply chain) to capitalise on India’s status as one of the world’s largest producers of raw and processed food products to meet consumer demand in the UK. 

India produces more than 155Mt of milk per year and is now the world’s second-largest producer of fish products and has the world’s largest population of livestock. It is the second-largest cereal producer and the global leader in cereal exports, led by rice. 

India’s food exports​ 

The food industry accounts for 9% of India’s manufacturing GDP and is the largest employer in the country providing employment for nearly 1.5M people. The report reckoned India’s processed food exports were worth £11.24bn in 2016, led by onions, grapes, cucumbers, buffalo meat, groundnuts, guar gum and rice. 

“The Indian food and drink sector is in an extremely dynamic position. This can be attributed to the demands of feeding a large population, changing demographics, heightened awareness on food safety and the growth of internal and foreign investment,”​ said Andrew Williams, UK business development director – food & drink, Santander Corporate & Commercial.   

“Encouraging tax and investment reforms make India the ideal platform for UK companies seeking to widen their footprint in an increasingly globalising economy.”​ 

‘Strategic location’​ 

Nitin Puri, senior president, food and agribusiness strategic advisory & research, Yes Bank, said: “India’s strategic location and its diverse raw material base serve to make it very promising for the food processing industry. 

“Its dynamic food market presents a plethora of trade and investment opportunities for UK firms across the value chain, ranging from the introduction of novel consumer food products and technology upgradation to establishing cold chain and logistics infrastructure.”

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