A Snapshot of Business News This Week
ASSOCHAM worried that panic created by government could jeopardize the packaged food industry
ASSOCHAM is seeking the Prime Minister’s intervention over the panic being created by FSSAI and other state governments over the Maggi incident. In a letter to the PM, the organization has expressed anguish that the packaged food industry in paying dearly for the notifications and press statements issued by FSSAI, which has created mistrust in the public on packaged food products. It believes that this consumer distrust could jeopardize an investment of Rs. 90,000 crore in the packaged food industry. Importantly, the packaged food industry has the potential to increase 5-fold to nearly Rs. 5.7 lakh crores by 2030. Furthermore, this sector provides employment to 48 million people in industry alone and a further 25 million indirectly in the area of logistics, transportation etc. This could also adversely affect farmers, since the bulk raw materials used for packaged foods are predominantly agri-products.
MoFPI announces formation of task force to augment food processing in northern India
The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) under the leadership of Harsimrat Kaur Badal has announced that a special task force would be formed to develop the food processing sector in the northern states of UP, Punjab, Rajasthan, HP, Haryana and Uttarakhand. The task force will identify the gaps and bottlenecks and suggest policy changes that will impact on the food processing sector in these states. Importantly, as a part of the development process, the government is aiming to strengthen farm-market linkages by leveraging the contributions of the private sector in providing the latest technologies and by encouraging the “Make in India” campaign in the area of manufacturing farming and food processing equipment. The government, on its part is contributing by strengthening the cold-chain deficit in India by setting-up 138 new cold-chain plants over the next 4 years, as well as setting-up new Mega Food Parks, which will collectively create 1 million new jobs.
FreshMenu and Box8 adopting mobile-apps to increase sales and customer experience
New mobile-apps are being rolled-out by food tech companies FreshMenu of Bangalore and Box8 of Mumbai for the benefit of their customers. These mobile-apps, which are to be introduced for Android and iOS within two weeks, will help customers to track their entire order life-cycle from restaurant to their homes, using a map format. Therefore, a real-life, step-by-step tab may be kept on the order until it is delivered at the customer’s doorstep. The mobile-app will also have key features to access discounts, promotions, special offers, combo-meals etc. These food tech companies believe that their sales will be more than doubled from around 4 transactions a month to 10 transactions, with the help of this mobile-app.
MVJ Foods acquired by AVA Group
The AVA Group has recently acquired MVJ Foods. AVA is the manufacturer of the Medimix brand of soap products and this is its first foray into the food business after acquiring MVJ Foods which owns the Melam brand of masalas, spices, curry powders, pickles, jams etc. The acquisition amount has not been disclosed. Melam, established in the early nineties, has a strong presence in Kerala. It also has a formidable track record of exports; exporting to countries like USA, UK, Middle East, Far East, Australia and Singapore. AVA plans to first expand to Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, before expanding its horizons further, both in India and abroad.
Punjab government invites Reliance Industries to invest in food processing sector
Punjab is seeking investment in its food processing sector from Reliance Industries. The Punjab government has written to Reliance Industries, headed by Mukesh Ambani, inviting to set-up a project on food processing in the state. The government wants Reliance Industries to set-up its project in the Mega Food Park coming up in Ladhowal. It is hoping that the company will make an announcement in this regard in the upcoming Progressive Punjab Investment Summit in October this year. This is not the first time that Punjab had MoU’s signed with the company. Reliance Industries had previously announced to invest around Rs. 2,500 crore in digital infrastructure for the state’s 4G network. It had also proposed to develop farm infrastructure at an outlay of Rs. 500 crore, to be up-scaled to Rs. 5,000 crore. Therefore, the Punjab government is very much hopeful that something positive will emerge, which will be highly beneficial for the people of Punjab.