Food Processing Industry



The food processing sector is one of the major sectors in India in terms of production, growth, consumption, and export, and has been accorded a priority status by the Government of India. The Indian food processing industry accounts for 32 % of the country’s total food market, 13 % of India’s exports and 6% of total industrial investment. India's food processing sector covers fruits and vegetables, spices, meat and poultry, milk and milk products, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, fisheries, plantation, grain processing and other consumer product groups like confectionery, chocolates and cocoa products, soya-based products, mineral water, and high protein foods.


The export of processed foods has been displaying a rising trend over the years. However, in 2015-16 the figure dropped to US$ 29.36 bn from US$ 36.17 bn in 2014-15. The exports of meat and preparations have exhibited considerable increase with the value of exports increasing from US$ 3.2 billion in 2012-13 to US$ 4.2 billion in 2015-16. A similar increase has been witnessed under the category of Fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates which increased from US$ 3.3 bn to US$ 4.5 bn during the same analyzed period.

Exports of Food Processing from India
HS Code Product Name 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
2 Meat And Edible Meat Offal 3287 4476 4929 4210
3 Fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates 3323 4823 5250 4481
4 Dairy produce; birds' eggs; natural honey; edible prod Of animal origin, not elsewhere spec 410 705 379 328
7 Edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers 1037 1356 1181 1193
8 Edible fruit and nuts; peel or citrus fruit or melons 1412 1623 1611 1544
9 Coffee, tea, mate and spices 2743 2747 2872 2908
10 Cereals 9655 10563 9551 6191
11 Products of the milling industry; malt; starches; inulin; wheat gluten 227 299 306 295
12 Oil seeds and olea fruits; misc grains, seeds and fruit; industrial or medicinal plants; straw and Fodder 1728 1709 2214 1658
13 Lac; gums, resins and other vegetable saps and extracts 4321 2415 1948 868
15 Animal/ vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products; pre edible fats 959 857 973 877
16 Preparations of meat, of fish or of crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates 94 120 155 212
17 Sugars and sugar confectionery 1750 1355 1075 1735
18 Cocoa and cocoa preparations 54 94 139 193
19 Preparations of cereals, flour, starch or milk; pastrycooks products 407 463 490 504
20 Preparations of vegetables, fruit, nuts or other parts of plants 384 450 505 488
21 Miscellaneous edible preparations 509 540 588 568
22 Beverages, spirits and vinegar 362 409 378 320
23 Residues and waste from the food industries; prepared animal foder 3236 3048 1630 793
  TOTAL 35898 38051 36172 29366
Source: DGCIS

Foreign Direct Investments

100% FDI is permitted under the automatic route in food processing industries; 100% FDI is allowed through approval route for trading, including through e-commerce in respect of food products manufactured and/or produced in India. FDI in the food processing industry was approximately US$ 6.8 billion during April 2000 to March 2016 period, accounting for 2.4% of the total FDI inflows in the country.


Given the huge market in India, food processing industry is poised for further growth. Going forward, the adoption of food safety and quality assurance mechanisms such as Total Quality Management (TQM) including ISO 9000, ISO 22000, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Good Hygienic Practices (GHP) by the food processing industry would offer several benefits. It would also enable adherence to stringent quality and hygiene norms and thereby protect consumer health, prepare the industry to face global competition, enhance product acceptance by overseas buyers and keep the industry technologically abreast of international best practices.



  • Food processing is recognised as a priority sector in the new manufacturing policy in 2011.
  • Government has set up a special fund called "Food Processing Fund" of approximately US$ 300 million in NABARD for extending affordable credit to designated food parks and the individual food processing units in the designated food parks. As on 31.05.2016 about a quarter of the fund as term loan has been sanctioned to 12 mega food parks projects.
  • Reserve Bank of India has classified loan to food & agro-based processing units and Cold Chain under agriculture activities for Priority Sector Lending (PSL) subject to aggregate sanctioned limit of INR 100 Crore per borrower from the banking system. It will ensure greater flow of credit to entrepreneurs for setting up of food processing units and attract investment in the sector.



IFS Food Standard

The IFS Food Standard is one of the Standards belonging to the umbrella brand IFS (International Featured Standards). It is a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recognised standard for auditing food safety and quality of processes and products of food manufacturers. It concerns food processing companies or companies that pack loose food products. IFS Food applies when products are “processed” or when there is a hazard for product contamination during primary packing. The standard contains many requirements related to specifications’ compliance and it supports production and marketing efforts for brand safety and quality. The IFS Food standard version 6 has been developed with full and active involvement of certification bodies, retailers, industry and food service companies from all over the world.


The FSSAI is a statutory body for prescribing science-based standards for food articles and regulating their manufacturing, processing, distribution, sale, import and export in order to ensure that food is safe and wholesome for human consumption. Under the Act, a single regulating authority is established for all matters relating to food safety and standards by moving from multi-level and multi-departmental control to a single line of command.

In order to keep a check on food products marketed in India, the FSSAI, also, follows Codex Alimentarius which the FAO and WHO published in 2003 to serve as guidelines for food safety. The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points system has been introduced as a new quality assurance principle to prevent/avoid health hazards. The HACCP system is included in all stages of food processing, viz. raw materials, storage of food, types of distribution channel and the intended usage of the final product by the consumers.

For further details on Regulations applicable in various geographies, refer to this link: