It is believed that around 30 million Indians – comprising both upper and middle class – consume packaged food, which includes ready-to-cook, ready-to-eat and frozen food – in high quantities. This figure is likely to reach 200 million within the next three years. As a result, we are witnessing a boom in the packaged food segment with new product launches, introduction of new product categories, and entry of new domestic and international players.
India’s ready-to-eat food market is projected to grow at a CAGR of around 22 per cent till 2020. Frozen & Refrigerated food is one such category under processed and ready-to-eat food segment to have caught the attention of processors, consumers, retailers, brands and investors alike.
As per an analysis carried out by Sathguru Management Consultants, the retail market for frozen food has a potential to grow at a CAGR of 20.5 per cent, from Rs 3,650 million in 2012 to Rs 9,300 million in 2017.
The frozen food market for foodservice segment promises an even better opportunity. Estimated to be Rs 6,350 million in 2012, it will expand at a CAGR of 26.6 per cent to reach Rs 20,600 million by 2017.
“In the past five years, the market has grown exponentially at a CAGR of close to 20 per cent and the next five years will show a similar or even faster growth,” says Head of Marketing, Innovative Foods Ltd, Sougata Basu. Innovative Foods Ltd operates the Sumeru brand that has products across various categories like paronthas (both plain and stuffed), breaded veg and non-veg snacking items, pork and even fresh prawns.
According to Partner Ushvina Foods, Karan Rathod, “Our main clients are working couples, kids, bachelors or as a matter of fact any mother who would like to give their child a quick snack/tiffin.”
Ushvina Foods operates the Frostland brand – a specialist in making whole wheat bread frozen pizzas – in Mumbai currently and is planning to widen its operations to Delhi, Gurgaon and Bangalore.
The frozen food category in India is at an early stage of evolution and is currently small compared to the more mature markets, but is expected to grow in double digits quickly. Globally, the frozen processed foods market is huge, somewhere close to US $60 billion. However, the growth expectations in mature markets are far lower than the burgeoning Indian market.
“It may be a little theoretical to compare the two markets. However, I will only reiterate that Indian frozen food market is sure to witness massive expansion,” says Basu.
The category appeals more to consumers in the metro cities, the ones who are well travelled, experimentative with food, have higher disposable incomes and to some extent are time-crunched.
However, in the recent times, the smaller towns have also warmed up to the category. Some of the Tier II cities and towns have also started giving good growth in the last couple of years. Modern Trade and e-commerce are playing a pivotal role in taking the category to consumers in the smaller cities.
“The established and mature markets are in the northern and western parts of India. Our research shows there is a huge untapped potential for frozen foods in eastern India, which is now approximately five per cent of the Indian market and expected to grow to 15 per cent in the next five years,” says General Manager – Sales & Marketing, Keventer Agro, Sudeep Gupta.
Keventer Agro has a range of frozen products in its portfolio: vegetarian snacks, non-vegetarian snacks, frozen vegetables, frozen breads, and frozen dairy products.
Read the full story ‘Take your pick and just chill!’ by Sanjay Kumar in June 2016 edition of the Progressive Grocer