Analyst spies global food process-functionality boost

By Neill Merritt

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food Nutrition

Growing interest from food processors in providing healthier convenience products is driving a surge in global demand for functional ingredients, particularly in emerging markets like India, suggests recent market analysis.

Aditi Basu, a consultant specialising in food and chemical operations within the regions of South Asia and the Middle East for Frost & Sullivan, claims that markets such as India present huge potential for ingredient and food groups able to provide functional products in particular.

By 2010, global demand for food and beverage ingredients is expected to reach $30bn (€21.6bn) from $25bn (€18bn) in 2007, according to Frost & Sullivan predictions compiled for global market intelligence organisation ICIS.

Indian Growth

With overall year-on-year growth in the global ingredients market expected between five to six per cent, the findings claim that manufacturers may see even higher increases in a market such as India.

Basu states that the Indian ingredients market is posting annual growth of between seven to eight per cent, though in more niche areas like health food, double-digit expansion is expected.

Growing interest in processed foods in the country was seen as helping to push demand for such ingredients, reflecting increasing awareness amongst on-the-go consumers of functional food and drinks.

Processor push

The analyst suggests that increasingly hectic lifestyles among Indian consumers, and the resulting concerns on maintaining nutritious diets, have led to surging growth in the Indian food processing sector since 2007, albeit it from a low-base.

Basu states that, such is the regard for the potential of Indian food processing, that the business sector is now the fifth largest in India and mirrors similar interest in the country’s burgeoning IT industry.

While Frost & Sullivan claims that India can offer multinational ingredients groups huge opportunities for growth and development, the analyst adds caution, noting that there are certain development challenges to be overcome in the market.

Basu suggests that despite major government initiatives being undertaken to revise national food safety laws, as well as agricultural regulations, growth is occurring amidst a general lack of centralised control in the Indian supply chain.

Nonetheless, the analyst expects a definite upward trend in India for specialty health ingredients like probiotics and fatty acids.

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