Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: This major food-producing country is heavily dependent on imported equipment.
Across India’s diverse geography, it has correspondingly diverse agro-climatic zones, climates, soils, terrains and crops. The southern part of the country as a tropical climate; in the Himalayan north, the climate is temperate and alpine; and the Thar desert is located in the northwest. This diversity means India is able to produce a variety of crops, fruits and vegetables throughout the year.
India ranks number one in the world in the production of milk, clarified butter (ghee), spices, ginger, cashews, bananas, guavas, papayas and mangoes. It is the world's second-largest producer of grains for human consumption, fruits and vegetables.
Despite being one of the largest producers of agricultural and food products in the world, India ranks fairly low in the global food processing value chain. However, with the Indian government’s favorable policy initiatives and infrastructure support, this sector is attracting new investments—both domestic and international.
Demand for processed food products in India is growing due to rapid urbanization, a growing middle class with ample disposable income, a growing number of working women, and most importantly, improvement in the supply chain. All these factors have contributed to the growth of the food processing sector in India. The ongoing pandemic has also highlighted the importance of food processing in order to achieve food security for the difficult times.
With increasing demand for processed food, new food processing facilities are being set up at industrial parks. Already, 18 mega food parks are operational across India, and there is growing demand for processing equipment. Global equipment manufacturers such as GEA (Germany), Alfa Laval (Sweden) and Tetra Laval International (Switzerland) in milk and milk products; Atlas Pacific Engineering Company (U.S.), Bucher (Switzerland) and Heat and Control (U.S.), in fruits and vegetables; Buhler AG (Switzerland), Satake Corp. (Japan) and Anko Food Machine (Taiwan) for cereal processing; Jarvis Products Corporation (U.S.) for poultry; and JBT Corporation (U.S.) in ready-to-eat and packaging machinery; and Middleby Corporation (U.S.) that provides refrigeration solutions have a strong presence in India.
The categories of food processing equipment that are in demand include processing machinery and systems used in handling, preparing, cooking, storing and packaging of food and food products. There is a need for high-precision and automation equipment to maintain quality, safety and hygiene, as well as machinery for material conveying and positioning and heating, drying and cooling. A variety of digital sensors, pipes, transmitters, tanks and tubes used in processing lines are also needed.
Large and midsize players in the food processing industry mostly depend on imports for the critical machinery they need for their processes. For smaller players, the cost of imported equipment is a major constraint, so they tend to opt for locally fabricated machines and equipment. However, most of the equipment manufactured in India lacks advanced technology and precision.
The top three markets from which India imports food processing equipment are the European Union (Germany, Italy), China and the U.S. In terms of sectors, bakery and cereal processing is the largest segment for food processing machinery imports.
Ample opportunities exist for Wisconsin companies to export food food processing machinery—especially advanced food processing and dairy processing equipment—to India. Besides direct export of machinery, opportunities exist to collaborate with partners in India for technology transfer.