What do food brands want: CPG majors share their wishlist


Incentive schemes, support to innovation and policies in the refrigeration are some of the top asks

Mumbai: Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies today are embracing innovation, the latest developments in science and technology, to conceive and create modern food while ensuring that food is nourishing, affordable, convenient and tasty, said panelists in India Food Forum’s session on ‘Future Ready Food Industry.’

With consumers’ penchant for convenience, variety and nutrition growing, there is a lot of room for CPG companies to innovate and experiment. While the customer is ready, CPG companies need a little support to make the most of the opportunity, they said.

Panelists in the session at the IFF 2022 in Mumbai were Bharadwaj Rallabandi, MD, Accenture, Dr. Bhavna Sharma, India Head-

Nutrition Science Department at  ITC, Pavan Singh, GM, Marketing, Amul

India, Srikant Subramanian, Senior GM, Blue Star and Tarun Arora, CEO, Zydus Wellness.

Here’s their wishlist:

Incentive schemes

The panelist stressed on industry’s needs of incentives from the government so that it can focus on developing certain product categories. Incentivasation, not just helps a CPG brand but the entire ecosystem, according to Dr. Bhavna Sharma, India Head-Nutrition Science Department at ITC. “The government incentives stakeholders of the industry to focus and promote a food or a food group, which helps in overall development of the ecosystem around it,” she said while illustrating the example of millets. The government wanted to encourage consumption of millets owing to its nutritional benefits. With that aim it incentivized CPG companies to turn into packaged food that can reach millions of Indians. “Millets are a perfect example of a beautifully executed incentive scheme. The government’s efforts encouraged a lot of players to come together to make it possible,” she said.

Policy to support innovation

“Today consumers are changing faster than regulations. Having a policy framework from authorities which will support innovation quickly is what is required,” Tarun Arora, CEO, Zydus Wellness. Not having such policy support holds back innovation, he added.

Policies for the cold chain

The panelists said there has been a major spike in the number of CPG products have entered the market in recent years and most of them require temperate control. Representing the cold chain space, Srikant Subramanian, Sr. GM, Blue Star said, “The government should look at framing new policies in the refrigeration space.” According to him it will ensure reduction in food waste and help maintain the quality of products.

He added that retailers should take food temperatures seriously, especially sellers of perishable items.

“From the infrastructure standpoint, please ensure that products retailed, should be stored at the required temperature gradient across the supply chain. If the temperature gradient is not maintained, not just the quality of the food will suffer, but the brand’s reputation will suffer too,” he appealed, to retailers.

Appending his wishlist, he said that I wish that retailers are open to adopting latest technologies.

The representatives were speaking at the 15th edition of India Food Forum 2022, the mega congregation of India’s emeriti of the Food Retail establishment at The Westin Mumbai, Powai Lake on December 7-8.

Started in 2008, India Food Forum is the annual platform du jour for those looking to get a ring-side view of India’s food retail industry and those wanting to ride the action on the Emerging Innovations and Trends and Developments in the Business of Food in India.

The two-day conclave — focusing on Food & Grocery Retail on Day 1 and Foodservice on Day 2 — is being chaired by retail icon Damodar Mall, CEO — Grocery, Reliance Retail, and is powered by Smart Bazaar and MessageBird.

India Food Forum 2022 is set to host 150+ speakers, 100+ exhibitors, top hats belonging to the C-Suite of 400+ brands and organisations in the food business.