Food Processing Industry Would Need Additional 9.3 MN Manpower by 2020

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The Food Processing Industry will have to explore educational and skill-set development in the areas of Chemistry, Biotech, Food Technology, etc, to meet the upcoming needs of the most critical and sensitive functions of R&D, QA and QC

Food and food products are the largest consumption category in India, with a market size of USD 181 billion in 2011. This includes both the organized and unorganized sector where organized forms 50-55 percent of the overall market. Domestically, the largest portion of the Indian consumer spending on food and food products is more than 31 percent share of the wallet. Food Processing Industry in India is increasingly seen as a potential source for driving and contributing towards overall economy of the country as it brings synergy between the end consumer, industry and agriculture. The sector is expected to grow at around 13 percent on a nominal basis to be of a size of USD 530-550 billion by 2020.

Talent Need

The Indian sub-continent has its diversity at a distance of every 50 kilo meters in the form of robe, language and eating habits. The expected growth of food processing sector across the country and its scope of creating and attracting more and more skilled talent is increasing day-by-day to meet the local taste of consumers. For the projected growth in the food processing industry, it is anticipated that the requirement of human resource would increase from about 8.5 million in 2008 to about 17.8 million in 2022, an incremental human resource requirement of about 9.3 million persons till 2022.

If the country and entrepreneurs can prepare themselves to have  state policies and practices reflecting the growth and developmental opportunities of Human Capital for Food Processing Industry; there should not be any crunch of qualified and skilled human resources for the sector.  We have seen the declining trend in the interest of Indian youth for employment in manufacturing sector in general and in food industry in particular, simply because the Food Processing Industry has its in-built sensitivities and innumerable quality checks involved in the production. Hence, there is need to ensure that the talent pool for the sector has requisite and innovative skill-set to drive the business in the right direction.


Talent Fight

The Food Processing Industry is expected to grow from Rs.3,600 billlion in 2008 to over Rs 15,600 billion by 2022, a CAGR of 11 percent. The industry will have to explore educational and skill-set development in the areas of Chemistry, Biotech, Food Technology, etc, to meet the upcoming needs of the most critical and sensitive functions of R&D, QA and QC. This is where business advisory corporations have been working to convert the Indian youth from a mindset of management only to a techno-commercial management, which will assure a check on diversion of these technically competent and qualified youngsters from entering into other support functions of the organization than into technical functions like R&D, QA, QC etc.

These business advisory corporations have been instrumental in turning around the outlook of some of these fields of education by creating an entry gate into the Food Processing Industry. However, once these talents’ technical competence is sharpened over a period of time in a company, the company should take the responsibility of adding more education as well as on-the-job training through their talent engagement interventions which will help these professionals to graduate from technical function to a techno-commercial to a management level.

The Food Processing Industry with its sensitivities involved in the end product, must work to nurture most of the talents for different functions in R&D, QA and QC, because those who create or design the product may be the best Marketing, HR or Supply Chain Professionals . than those with the respective areas’ functional expertise. The perishability of food products can be understood by a technical person better than by a marketing or HR person, because the technical person is the one who would be better able to connect the value chain of food processing from farm to fork than any other functional expert.


There are ample examples of organizations having unionized workforce which have not been paving a path of growth either for the industry or for the Human Resources. Further to this, organizations, state and society need to work on influencing the mindset of people to be contributive towards the overall sector development and society by transforming unionization to association, wherein development and growth of human capital is a bigger and better concern.

Statutory Framework

Ignorance towards statutory requirements and its significance is one of the major bottlenecks hampering the sustainable growth of the industry, which calls for an expert to deal with a comprehensive national level policy on food processing, inconsistency in central and state policies, food safety laws and other relevant laws, which have become ambiguous due to their misinterpretation by different stakeholders on several occasions.

Business advisory corporations have been working in the space while imparting training and setting up food processing entities without compromising on corporate values and ethics under the law of the land. Their efforts, along with business houses, society and pressure groups, have been to create awareness about a 100 percent compliant entity for the benefit of internal as well as external customers. An industrial society must be compliant right at the inception stage to avoid any type of financial loss or penalties, which incurs the loss of trust in the brand more than the loss of money.


Human Capital Availability
There is a great opportunity of nurturing technically qualified people with right competence to match the sector need due to mushrooming of vocational institutions across the country. Government ITIs along with other B & C Grade colleges at pan India level must develop the tendency to certify technocrats along with competency development. This is where the industry and institutions can join hands together with the help of facilitators to set up an exclusive forum, which will take the accountability of developing people and catering to its current and future needs.

Because of the volatility and fast growth of the economy, the sector should also work towards hiring people at the trainee level and develop them to meet their internal standards and benchmarks. If the organizations are not able to train and develop them as per the mutual expectations of employer and employee, there is higher degree of possibilities that frequent change of jobs may happen.

Research & Innovation

The Sector employs blue as well as white collared professionals from the shop-floor to the corporate level. The Food Processing Industry has an outstanding blend of manufacturing as well as service industry traits in it. It requires technocrats, research and management professionals for their plant as well as corporate set ups. However, the most critical roles of R&D, QC and QA professionals in the food sectors are in great shortage. Hence, there is an opportunity wherein some of the professionals of the country have started working on changing the orientation of bio technologists, food technologists and chemistry degree holders from the role of management to the role of innovation and creativity in the food sector. In addition to these efforts of private and freelance professionals, the Indian Government is also putting emphasis on research and innovation through its institutions like NIFTEM (Hyderabad), CFTRI (Mysore), IIT (Kharagpur), NIT (some centres), IFTM (Pune) and others.

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