India's growing fruit processing sector to spark postharvest progress

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India's growing fruit processing sector to spark postharvest progress

India's fruit and vegetable extract market revenue is set to increase by 72% from US$400.5 million last year to US$690.5 million by 2017, according to analysts Frost & Sullivan.

Frost & Sullivan materials & food research analyst Srividyaranjani Venkatasubramanian, said health-conscious consumers have already prompted several beverage manufacturers to switch from aerated to fruit juice-based drinks.

"Manufacturers are conducting trials to derive fruit pulp, purées, and juices from seasonal fruits and store them for future use. They are striving to make seasonal fruit products available throughout the year."

The boom in the Indian retail industry has benefited the food processing sector, which has boosted the country's fruit and vegetable extract market.

But Venkatasubramanian warned insufficienct infrastructure to minimize agricultural wastage and heavy postharvest losses would affect the availability, reliability and price of products as well as holding back future growth.

"There should be proper postharvest storage warehouses. There's an insufficient integrated cold storage chain. For every step where the fruit is transported to another location then this maximises the loss and this is one factor which could be hindering the market."

She said the government was trying to reduce food inflation and was introducing policies and plans such as food parks with state-subsidized food industry companies located together operating in an integrated way.

"There are lots of policies coming out in the the next five to seven years to adopt postharvest facilities. Basically, the processed fruit industry is getting interest from India's ministries of commerce and industry."

The government plans to open 30 mega food parks by the end of this year and by 2015 is aiming to triple the processed food sector.

Fruit and vegetable processing units are exempt from taxes, while the fruit and vegetable processing industry is to receive bank lending priority.

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