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Experts discuss food business, production going green

The cost of your next meal could continue to rise, according to experts who fear the disruptions to the global supply chain that started with the pandemic may persist. Labor shortage is also a cause for concern as the global system continues to see competition for more workers. The strained labor force caused factories to not operate at full capacity, limiting food production.

The situation is the same on the agricultural side of food production, where urbanization and industrialization have led to fewer plantings. This trend has been observed in India, where low agricultural yields are now a reality, with India’s level being 47% lower than that of China. These concerns have led to fears of structural inflation and the search for new themes to improve output.

So what can be used to control the situation? To discuss this, Manisha Gupta of CNBC-TV18 spoke with Varun Deshpande, Managing Director of Good Food Institute India, and Anand Ramanathan, Partner at Deloitte India.

Speaking about smart proteins, Deshpande said, “There is a specific segment that we are working on, which is known as smart proteins. The reason we are focusing on this area is driven by a lot of things that you have already mentioned. Especially in light of the COVID 19 pandemic, there has been an increased awareness of the burdens our protein supply places on the planet. We currently get our proteins, i.e. meat, eggs, dairy products, etc., from a supply of industrial animals. What a lot of these smart protein producers do is switch sources of protein. They produce meat, eggs and dairy products from plants or from fermentation or cell culture. So the idea here is to give people what they want, something that tastes the same or better than the foods they are used to eating, but costs the same or less in terms of impact. on the planet, on public health, etc. . “

He added, “Especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is an area that is incredibly exciting. There are vast orders of magnitude, less land requirements, less water use, less greenhouse gas emissions, non-renewable energy, etc. This is really something that we have to take a step back and think about how we are actually going to feed 10 billion people by 2050. One sixth of those people will be in India. So the topic of this discussion today is very relevant – by 2050 – and if we are to do that, we absolutely have to think about using the technology and using these tools at our disposal to change our source. protein. “

Regarding the investment required to produce smart proteins, Deshpande said, “We are at the very start of a decade-long journey. What’s really exciting is that globally this industry is booming. So, it is really the avant-garde. He is at the forefront of food innovation on a global scale. In 2020, we saw about $ 3.1 billion of investment in all categories of smart proteins around the world, and in 2021, over three-quarters (that figure) has (been) eclipsed to about 3.4 billion. of dollars. Very little of this entered India. So we see that it emerges very quickly. “

Regarding food demand, Ramanathan said, “In terms of the future of food, following the pandemic, there have been changes in consumption. People have become more oriented towards health, convenience, especially ready-to-cook, ready-to-eat, and sustainability foods. These have become really important, especially from a Gen Z and Millennial perspective. So, what we have seen is that this shift in consumption, along with the increase in income, has led to changes in the traditional food pyramid in terms of eating patterns. There is now a greater emphasis on protein, fresh produce, processed foods and as a result we have also seen higher levels of organization within the various food sub-segments. So whether it’s staples, a bunch of new staples, I mean poha, daliya, or red rice, a lot of them get organized, like what we We’ve seen with spices and dairy in the past where there’s been a shift from unorganized play to brand play.

“In the future, we will see that there will be an increase in demand for processed foods and therefore the outlook for the sector looks very good. However, some changes must occur. There is inflation, and that has had an impact on the products because in food, about 50 to 60 percent of the cost comes from the raw material, and therefore the products and the supply of products at the right price will be an important success factor, as well as with controlling the cost of packaging, as these will all be areas where we will see inflationary pressures. “

Regarding India’s production and productivity, Ramanathan said, “Today many of these countries are considering their own food security programs. So to that extent, there will be the opportunity for Indian companies to work with these countries, to help them with food security. But it will also lead to uptime issues, especially in areas that are growing much faster. So given the changes in food consumption patterns, pulses, oilseeds, these will all be areas where India already imports a lot and in the future we are going to see additional pressure on supply as demand is increasing. Again, we will see a lot of substitutes emerge. So if you look at the animal proteins themselves, we will have alternative proteins that come into play. If we look at the oil seeds, there will be an effort to look at other sources of fat beyond vegetable oil. . Therefore, these will all be areas where we will see innovation happen and new products will emerge. “

Watch the accompanying video to learn more.


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