‘Huge potential’ for India-UK collaboration in food retail and e-commerce, says India’s food processing minister

‘Huge potential’ for India-UK collaboration in food retail and e-commerce, says India’s food processing minister

The Minister of Food Processing for the Government of India – Harsimrat Kaur Badal – has completed an official visit to the UK exploring opportunities for collaboration between Indian companies operating within food processing, food technology and retail industries.

During the three-day visit, from September 6 to 8, the minister interacted with top food companies in the UK, briefing them of the ‘huge business potential’ in India’s food processing sector.

The minister was accompanied by Mr J P Meena, Special Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing industries, for the Government of India; Mr Hardeep Singh, private secretary to Minister of Food Processing, Government of India and Mr Piruz Khambatta, Co-Chairman, CII National Committee on Food Processing Industries and Chairman and Managing Director of Rasna Private Limited.

The High Commission of India in UK and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organised a private roundtable in London with the Hon’ble Minister on “Food Processing in India: Collaborative Opportunities” bringing together nearly 20 renowned UK based companies in the food sector.

The participants included large retailers, specialty foods, e-retailers and beverage manufacturers. Senior representatives attended from Sainsbury, Holland & Barret, Diageo, Ty-Phoo Tea, British Agri Food Consortium, Food and Drink Federation, Whittard of Chelsea, and Food and Drink Exporters Association.

In addition, the Hon’ble Minister also had one-to-one meetings with senior leadership of Sainsbury PLC, Tesco PLC and Marks & Spencer PLC as well as Partridges, McCormick & Company, Waitrose, Holland and Barrett International, Morrisons and Harrods to discuss current and future trade and investment prospects into India.

Reiterating the need for enhanced cooperation between India and UK in the sector Mrs Harsimrat Kaur Badal said: “With increasing disposable income and changing consumer preferences in India, retail and e-commerce are booming in the food segment and this is where the opportunity lies. Over the past two years the Government of India has taken a number of policy decisions to spur vibrant growth in the food processing segment. With such a progressive policy outlook, we will offer full support towards new collaborations and greater investment.”

The Government of India has recently allowed 100pc FDI through FIPB route in marketing of food products produced and manufactured in India. This path-breaking initiative has opened up vast opportunities for international companies to invest in India in the food processing supply and marketing chain. Additionally, attractive incentives have been established by central and state governments to include capital subsidies, tax rebates, and reduced custom and excise duties. Increasing focus is also being given to supply-chain related infrastructure, such as cold storage, abattoirs and food parks.

Speaking at the interactive session Mr Navtej Sarna, Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, said: “UK is the third largest investor in India, and the highest in G-20 countries. Of the total UK FDI in India around three billion dollars is in the food processing sector. India is doing well amongst world economies and is an attractive destination for FDI. What is required is closer interaction between Indian and UK food and beverage sector to strengthen business.”

Applauding the progressive changes to enhance growth in India’s food processing industry Mr Piruz Khambatta said: “The Government’s decision to permit 100% FDI under government approval route for trading, including through e-commerce, in respect of food products manufactured or produced in India will provide a major impetus to investments, employment and job creation in the Food processing industry. This policy announcement is aligned with the Government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative facilitating ‘Ease of doing business’ and through CII, we hope to support the Government in taking these positive messages to key global markets such as the UK, and invite international business collaboration.”

Mrs Kaur Badal invited the participating companies to visit India from January 11 to 13, 2017 to meet the Indian food & retail industry during the ‘Food Summit’ being organized by the Ministry of Food Processing, Government of India on the side lines of ‘Vibrant Gujarat Summit’ in Gujarat.

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