Conference on Emerging Technologies
in Food Processing Sector

28th June 2013: Hotel ITC Park Sheraton, Chennai, INDIA

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About the Conference

In the past ten years, India has left no stone unturned to ensure the growth of the Food Processing Industry in India. It has been primarily due to the significance the industry holds as it employs around 19% of the total population with its vital linkages in the key sectors which are agriculture and manufacturing and contributes to around 9% of the GDP. This has been due to rapid changes in the demographics of the population and the changing lifestyles. To match up with the market needs, the industry structure, its supply chain, and standards will have to match up with global standards at a rapid pace. With its unique food habits, India has to develop its own systems in many cases all of which make technology the prime mover for the Indian food processing Industry.

The food processing sector is a high priority sector that is poised to grown significantly in the next 10-15 years. However, the technological capabilities and technology adoption in Indian organizations is very low. The industry has been facing problems of low capacity utilization, technological obsolescence and marketing. It has to work under the constraints of high fluctuations in raw material quality and fluctuating market price, poor technology for handling and storage, inadequate R&D support for product development, high cost of energy and uncertainty in availability of adequate quantity for processing purposes, inadequate and expensive cold chain facilities and varying requirement of processing conditions from one material to another. However, over the last few years, there has been a positive growth in fruit and vegetable processed products such as ready-to-serve beverages, fruit juices and pulps, dehydrated and frozen fruits and vegetable products, tomato products, pickle, convenience veg-spice pastes, processed mushrooms and curried vegetables.

Technology development is critical to a country's efforts in improving productivity, efficiency and competitiveness of its industrial sector. Factor cost advantages are being replaced by technology -related factors such as zero-defect product quality and international certification of firms' quality assurance systems (e.g., ISO 9000) in determining international competitiveness. Central to maintaining competitiveness is the ability of producers to respond quickly and effectively to the changing demands of the international market.

World-class institutions for technology, management and entrepreneurship are a critical requirement for the growth of food processing industries, since they would address the gaps in the current Indian scenario by developing world-class managerial talent and entrepreneurship with adequate technical background in foods sciences and technology; increase the importance of food hygiene and safety standards; facilitate business incubation services; and have market intelligence function of collecting and imparting information such as a demand and supply trends in the Indian and overseas market, etc.

A significant improvement in the technology level of the food processing industry in India faces multiple hindrances due to current state of the industry where the majority of the output comes from the unorganized sector or is sourced from them. This has been further strengthened due to the improvements in supply chain abilities of major players. Several local product lines get added everyday to the Indian organized sector through such sourcing. This places new demands on the suppliers to improve their levels of quality and technology. Huge improvements are needed in the areas of food canning, dairy processing, cooking and thermal processing, refrigeration, packaging and other specialty and emerging processes. In the years to come, the food value chain is expected to be lead by a few major players with all others becoming part of their value chains. Technology will play the vital role in processing, quality, supply chain management and logistics. There is a need for greater understanding of food processing operations for ensuring high quality and safety of foods as well as better utilization of existing technologies and adoption of new innovative technologies.

And while the new global economy ushers in a rapid expansion of the worldwide distribution of agricultural products, our concern now is not only to produce food in sufficient quantity, but also to enhance the competitiveness of the Indian agricultural industry in the world market by developing value-added foods based on higher quality standards and improved processing techniques. The development and promotion of high-quality and value-added agro-products are vital in response to the changing market and consumer preferences amid recent trends in economic development and globalization, as well as the expanding population.

It is hence that we have conceived this conference with a value chain approach in mind and focusing on addressing technological gaps and constraints and deliver appropriate technological interventions across value chain. The conference will provide private entrepreneurs with technical information for value addition, product development, information on new technology, best practices, and an opportunity to get introduced to valued food industry knowledge and networks.

The proposed conference will strive to develop strong linkages within the agro food processing industry for national benefit and profitable private sector enterprises through the overall development of technology levels of industry members. The conference proposes to initiate this through creating linkages between corporate entities and agro –SMEs, producer's groups through formal and informal networking activities during and after the conference which will be facilitated by the conference secretariat. The focus will be on fostering new business opportunities and technology platforms for small agro enterprises and doing so enabling them to benefit from the growing market opportunities in the agro food system, domestically and internationally.

The conference will be one of its kinds with the unique facilitations that will be provided as part of the ninth edition Foodpro 2011 for the B2B requirements of the delegates and much valued knowledge sharing from champions of industry and thought leaders from the government, industry and research institutions.

Around 200 senior personnel representing CEO's, Industry leaders & senior executives of leading manufacturers of processed & packaged foods, fresh produce, exporters; Retail chains and government agencies are expected to attend this conference.

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