Food Forum India 2010 (FFI ’10), an annual event from the IMAGES group, began with a good appetite. The two-day event promises to satiate the expectations of the participants with an interesting agenda that not only talks about the current scenario but also throws light upon the road ahead.
Arvind Singhal, chairman, Technopak, shared his ‘Indian Food Vision’ for the next decade. Speaking about the impact on food demand he pointed out three key factors that he grouped as the growing population and income, the patale and lifestyle changes and finally social changes like nuclear families and the growing number of working women. He claimed, “ With the rise in income the consumption has also increased. So people are having more than their basic thrree square meals a day. Also there is globalisation in India since people are constantly moving from one state to another for work or family reasons. Also the working hours are changing. All these are leading to questions like what to eat, where to eat, when to eat and the likes. Thus, exploring new cuisines through ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat category is growing rapidly.”
Singhal emphasised that time being an important factor and consumers are looking for instant options when it comes to eating rather than spending time on cooking. He also pointed out that there is also a desire to eat healthy. He observed, “Any change brings an opportunity, so it is necessary for the industry to become more and more innovative.”
Praveen Someshwar, COO, Bottling Operations, PepsiCo India, focused on the identifying the target consumer. His presentation entitled ‘Youngistaaan: What’s your Way!’ termed the new age young consumers as ‘millinium’ consumers. Sharing demographics he pointed out that 30 per cent of the country’s population fall between the age group of 16 to 29. Someshwar next went on to identify the characteristics of the modern youth as “optimistic about their future, 33 per cent want to own some business, they have a strong sense of adventure and they love to make money in order to feel successful, some feel their friends are more important than family and the likes.” Speaking about these various aspects, he drove home the point that connecting with the consumer is the key to success in the food business. Justifying his case, Someshwar also quoted the example of Lay’s chips co-creating four new flavours along with its consumers. He also added, “It is important to strike a balance by offering ‘Fun for you’ food products like colas and chips and also ‘Health for you’ products like oats and fruit juices.”
KC Raghu, MD, Pristine Organics, spoke extensively about organic foods and nutrition trends. He said that in spite of man creating 80,000 varieties of food, one can only count a few of them that they consume, on the finger tips. In this context he added, “Since the GDP growth in our country gets priority, wheat and rice are pampered while other varieties like millets and pulses are neglected. Since 60 per cent of our agriculture is rain-fed or monsoon-dependent, organic food holds a great future in our country.”
— Sayanti Banerjee, Mumbai Bureau