Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has urged UK companies to participate in India's food processing value chain, saying a market worth USD 600 billion is waiting for the British firms.
The Union Cabinet Minister of Food Processing was addressing a round-table to promote her ministry's first-ever World Food India summit in New Delhi in November and called on British companies to use the platform to finalise their entry and collaboration plans.
"India is a USD 600 billion retail sector, of which 70 per cent is just food retail. This is set to treble in the next three years and in the next five years, Indians will be spending 50 per cent more on food. That is the kind of huge market we have. This market is waiting for you in India to participate in any part of the food processing value chain," Badal said at the Indian High Commission in London yesterday.
"India-UK share many warm bonds and I hope we can take our food diplomacy to the next level with World Food India," she said.
Using Amazon's commitment of a 500-million-dollar investment in the Indian food sector as an example of the growing foreign investor interest in the industry, the minister highlighted a range of incentives being offered by the Indian government in the form of mega food parks and cold chain schemes.
"As we are creating the right infrastructure, we think the platform is now ready for World Food India, which is going to be a platform for people to meet and take partnerships to another level. Geographically, India is also very close to food importing countries, like UAE or Japan, and we have a highly skilled cheap labour force and one of the fastest growing economies in the world," Badal said.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) supported summit to be held between November 3 and 5 in New Delhi is planned as a biennial conference to bring together various states of India to showcase business opportunities as well as their own unique cuisine as part of a "Food Street", which is also likely to be replicated in the UK.
"The summit is designed to offer an unusual peek into India's food and culture as well as opportunities to invest and prosper from one of the world's largest consumer markets," CII said in a statement.
Italy has been confirmed as a focus country of the summit this year, with other partner countries are expected to join in and explore the so-called "farm to fork" food processing value chain in India.