• Cooling India
  • Oct 15, 2017

Food Processing Industry at a Glance


• 194.39 million Hectares of Gross Cropped Area in 2012-13(P)
• 66.10 million Hectares of Net Irrigated Area in 2012-13(P)
• 127 agro-climactic zones
• 42 mega food parks being set up with an allocated investment of USD 2.38 billion

Reasons to Invest in Indian Food Processing Industry

• A rich agriculture resource base-India was ranked No. I in the world in 2013 in terms of production of arecanut, bananas, castor oil seed, chick peas, chillies & peppers dry, ginger, lemons & limes, mangoes, mangos teens, guavas, millet, okra, papayas, pigeon peas, meat- buffalo, milk-whole fresh buffalo & goat, ghee, butter oil of cow milk, ghee of buffalo milk, sesame seed.
• India ranks second in the world in the production of Anise, fennel, coriander, beans-dry, cabbages and other brassicas, cauliflower & broccoli, egg plants (aubergines), garlic, groundnuts with shell, lentil, onions dry, peas green, potatoes, pumpkins, squash and gourds, rice/paddy, safflower seed, sugar cane, tea, tomatoes, wheat, meat-goat, milk whole fresh cow. Further, India is at third position in the production of cashew nuts, with shell, coconuts, lettuce and chicory, nutmeg, mace and cardamoms, pepper (piper spp), rapeseed.
• The country’s gross cropped area amounts to 194.39 million hectares, with cropping intensity of 139%. The net irrigated area is 66.10 million hectare in 2012- 13(P).
• A total of 127 agro-climatic zones have been identified in India. Strategic geographic location and proximity to food-importing nations makes India favourable for the export of processed foods.
• Extensive network of food processing training, academic and research institutes.
• 42 Mega Food Parks (MFP) are being setup with an investment of USD 2.38 billion. The parks have around 1250 developed plots with basic enabled infrastructure that entrepreneurs can take on lease for the setting up of food processing and ancillary units. As on 25.07.2016, out of 42 MFP projects 8 projects have been operationalised.
• The cost of skilled manpower is relatively low as compared to other countries. Attractive fiscal incentives have been instated by central and state governments and these include capital subsidies, tax rebates, depreciation benefits, as well as reduced custom and excise duties for processed food and machinery.
• Major global players in the food domain are already present in India.
• 134 cold chain projects are being setup to develop supply chain infrastructure. As on 22.07.2016, out of 134 Cold Chain Projects, 87 projects have been completed.


• India has been ranked 12th in the world in exports of food and food products in 2015.
• Major industries constituting the food processing sector are grain milling, sugar, edible oils, beverages, fruits & vegetables processing and dairy products.
• The contribution of the food processing sector to the Gross Value Addition (GVA) in 2014-15 amounts to USD 22 billion at 2011-12 prices. In 2014-15, GVA in food processing grew by 5.78%.
• The share of Food Processing Sector in GVA of manufacturing sector was 8.6% in 2014-15.
• Investment in fixed capital in registered food processing sector had grown from USD 24.5 billion in 2012-13 to USD 25.85 billion in 2013-14, making a growth rate of 6%.
• The number of registered food processing units has increased from 37,175 in 2012-13 to 37,445 in 2013-14.
• Food processing industry is one of the major employment intensive segments contributing 11.69% of employment generated in all Registered Factory sector in 2013-14.

Growth Drivers

• Liberalisation and the growth of organised retail has made the Indian market more attractive for global players with a large agricultural resource base, abundant livestock and cost competitiveness, India is fast emerging as a sourcing hub of processed foods.
• With a population size of 1.22 billion of which 604 million were under the age of 24 in 2011, this rising youth population is likely to increase India’s overall food consumption.
• Rising income levels, affluence and a growing middle-class.
• One-third of the population will be living in urban areas by 2020.
• Increasing desire for branded food as well as increased spending power.
• Large distinct consumer segments to support customised offerings or new categories and brands within each segment.
• Consumption in India is driven towards packaged and ready-to-eat foods.
• Favourable economic & cultural transformation, shift in attitudes & lifestyles, consumers are experimenting with different cuisines, tastes and new brands.
• There is an increase in awareness and concern for wellness and health, high protein, low fat, wholegrain and organic food.
• Exports of food items have been rising steadily, the main export destinations being Middle East and South East Asia.
FDI Policy
• 100% FDI is permitted under the automatic route in food processing industries.
• 100% FDI is allowed through government approval route for trading, including through e-commerce in respect of food products manufactured or produced in India.

Sector Policy

• Food processing is recognised as a priority sector in the new manufacturing policy in 2011.
• Government has set up a special fund called ‘Food Processing Fund’ of approximately USD 300 million (at Rs. 67.25 to 1 USD) in National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for extending affordable credit to designated food parks and the individual food processing units in the designated food parks. As on 31.05.2016 about a quarter of the fund as term loan has been sanctioned to 12 mega food parks projects.
• Reserve Bank of India has classified loan to food & agro-based processing units and Cold Chain under agriculture activities for Priority Sector Lending (PSL) subject to aggregate sanctioned limit of USD 15.38 million per borrower from the banking system. It will ensure greater flow of credit to entrepreneurs for setting up of food processing units and attract investment in the sector.

Financial Support

• Services of pre-conditioning, pre-cooling, ripening, waxing, retail packing, labeling of fruits and vegetables have been exempted from Service.
• Exemption to transportation of ‘food stuff’ by rail, or vessels or road will be limited to transportation of food grains including rice and pulses, flours, milk and salt only. Transportation of agricultural produce is granted full exemption.
• For generating more employment, an amendment regarding eligibility threshold of minimum 100 workmen has been reduced to 50, is made in the provisions of section 8OJJAA of the Income-Tax Act (w.e.f. 01/04/2016).
• The entry “waters, including mineral waters and aerated waters, containing added sugar or other sweetening matter or flavoured” in the Seventh Schedule to the Finance Act 2005 related to levy of additional duty of excise @ 5% has been omitted.

Income Tax

Deduction in Expenditure

• Deduction for expenditure incurred on investment is allowed if the investment is wholly and exclusively for the purpose of any specified business (details given below). However, this deduction is allowed only for the investment made in the previous year and prior to commencement of its operations.
• Business allowed 100% deduction.
– Setting up and operating a cold chain facility (not available for expansion of the unit).
– Setting up and operating warehousing facilities for storage of agriculture produce (not available for expansion of unit)
• Business allowed 100% deduction
– Bee-keeping and the production of honey and beeswax.
– The setting up and operation of a warehousing facility for the storage of sugar.

Deduction of Tax from Profit

• This tax incentive is available as 100% tax exemption for the first five years’ of operation, and after that, at the rate of 25% of the profits being exempted from tax; 30% in case of a company. This benefit is available only for 10 years for new units (i.e. not formed by splitting up or by way of reconstruction of an existing business) in the business of processing, preservation and packaging of fruits or vegetables, meat & meat products, poultry, marine or dairy products provided such business had commenced on or after 01.04.2001.
• If any business relating to meat, meat products, poultry, marine products or dairy products has started after 01.04.2009, the above benefit would be available, but not to the unit operating in such business before 01.04.2009.

Service Tax

Negative List

  Service tax is not leviable on items contained in the Negative List. Services including processes carried out at an agricultural farm including tending, pruning, cutting, harvesting, drying, cleaning, trimming, sun drying, fumigating, curing, sorting, grading, cooling or bulk packaging and such like operations which do not alter the essentials characteristics of agricultural produce but make it only marketable for the primary market.

  The following services are covered under exempted category from service tax:

• Construction, erection, commissioning or installation of original works pertaining to post-harvest storage infrastructure for agriculture produce including cold storages for such purposes.
• Mechanised food grain handling system, machinery or equipment for units processing agricultural produce as food stuff excluding alcoholic beverages.
• Services of loading, unloading, packing, storage or warehousing of agricultural produce.
• Services of pre-conditioning, pre-cooling, ripening, waxing, retail packing, labeling of fruits and vegetables.
• Services provided by National Centre for Cold Chain development under Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Government of India by way of knowledge dissemination.
• Services provided by a goods transport agency, by way of transport in a goods carriage of agricultural produce, foodstuff including flours, tea, coffee, jiggery, sugar, milk, products, salt and edible oil, excluding alcoholic beverages.

Customs Duty

  Government has extended Project Imports’ benefits to the following projects:

• Projects for the installation of mechanised food grain handling systems and pallet racking systems in ‘mandis’ and warehouses for food grains and sugar.
• Cold storage, cold room (including for farm level pre-cooling) or industrial projects for preservation, storage or processing of agricultural, apiary, horticultural, dairy, poultry, aquatic and marine produce and meat.
• Consequently, all goods related to Food Processing, imported as part of the project, irrespective of their tariff classification, would be entitled to uniform assessment at concessional basic customs duty.
• Concessional Basic Customs Duty as presently available under project imports for cold storage, cold room (including for farm level pre-cooling) also extended for ‘cold chain including pre-cooling unit, pack houses, sorting and grading lines and ripening chambers’ from 10% to 5%.
• Customs Duty on Hazelnuts has been reduced from 30% to 10%.
• Customs Duty on De-hulled Oat Grains has been reduced from 30% to 15%.
• Customs Duty on Refrigerated containers has been reduced from 10% to 5%.

Central Excise Duty

Food Products

• Nil excise duty in milk, milk products, vegetables, nuts & fruits- both fresh and dried.
• Against a standard excise duty of 12%, processed fruits and vegetables carries a merit rate of 2% without CENVAT or 6% with CENVAT.
• Soya milk drinks, flavoured milk of animal origin also carry a duty of 2% without CENVAT or 6% with CENVAT.
• Excise duty on waters including mineral waters and aerated waters, containing added sugar or other sweetening matter or flavored has been changed from 18% to 21% in budget 2016-17.

Food Processing Machinery

• Excise duty on machinery for the preparation of meat, poultry, fruits, nuts or vegetables and on presses, crushers and similar machinery used in the manufacture of wine, cider, fruit juices or similar beverages and on packing machinery is reduced from 10% to 6% in budget 2014-15.
• All refrigeration machinery and parts used for the installation of cold storage, cold room or refrigerated vehicles for the preservation, storage, transport or processing of agricultural, apiary, horticultural and marine produce as well as dairy and poultry, are exempt from excise duty.
• Excise Duty on machinery including refrigerated containers has been reduced from 12.5% to 6%. (In the Budget 2016-17).
• Nil excise duty on capital goods and spares thereof, raw materials, parts & material handling equipment for cargo vessel of various kinds including refrigerator vessels for the transport of meat, fruit or the like. Whale catchers.
• Nil excise duty on trawlers and other fishing vessels.

Investment Opportunities

• Fruits and vegetables: preserved, candied, glazed and crystallised fruits and vegetables, juices, jams, jellies, purees, soups, powders, dehydrated vegetables, flakes, shreds and ready-to-eat curries.
• Food preservation by fermentation: wine, beer, vinegar, yeast preparation, alcoholic beverages.
• Beverages: fruit-based, cereal-based.
• Dairy: liquid milk, curd, flavoured yoghurt, processed cheese, cottage cheese, swiss cheese, blue cheese, ice cream, milk-based sweets.
• Food additives and nutraceuticals.
• Confectionery and bakery: cookies and crackers, biscuits, breads, cakes and frozen dough.
• Meat and poultry: eggs, egg powder, cut meats, sausages and other value added products.
• Fish, seafood and fish processing – processing and freezing units.
• Grain processing – oil milling sector, rice, pulse milling and flour milling sectors.
• Food preservation and packaging: metal cans, aseptic packs.
• Food processing equipment: canning, dairy and food processing, specialty processing, packaging, frozen food/refrigeration and thermo-processing.
• Consumer food: packaged food, aerated soft drinks and packaged drinking water.
• Spice pastes.
• Supply chain infrastructure – this niche has investment potential in food processing infrastructure, the government’s main focus is on supply chain related infrastructure like cold storage, abattoirs and food parks.
• The establishment of food parks – a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs, including foreign investors to enter in the Indian food processing sector.

Source: Make in India