Indian food, beverages segment eyes growth

New Delhi, August 12:

With a booming retail industry and a strong middle-class with more purchasing power, India’s food and beverages (F&B) segment is growing by leaps and bounds, states a survey by FNCCI.

In the current fiscal of 2007-08, the sector is growing at a rate of 8.5 per cent, with a major contribution made by branded foods that is growing by about 15-20 per cent, according to the Food & Beverages survey conducted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Last year, products such as semi-processed, cooked ready-to-eat products grew by about 23 per cent, organised branded milk products by 20 per cent, ice cream by 26 per cent, wine by 24 per cent and sugar by 20 per cent, the survey noted.

Other products that also witnessed growth during 2006-07 are bakery items, snacks, chocolates, confectionary, beverages and branded edible oil among others.

The chamber attributed the rise of the F&B sector to a liberal and flexible policy environment that has been given a catalytic effect in the entire developmental process.

The sector has been able to scale newer heights due to various reform measures and tax benefits, according to the survey based on feedback provided by over 300 sector-specific industry associations, companies, representatives of the industry and experts from firms both in the private and public sectors.

Measures such as de-licensing of the sector, allowing 100 per cent foreign equity in some products, duty exemptions and free permission for using foreign brand names have all acted as propellers for growth.