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India, the global food basket

 Puja Banerjee |  2016-04-01 21:17:12.0  |  New Delhi

India, the global food basket

It is an initiative of NIFTEM to provide a common platform to all the stake holders and to facilitate standardisation and mechanisation of traditional Indian food.

Indian cuisine encompasses a wide variety of regional cuisines native to India. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate, culture, ethnic group and occupations, these cuisines vary significantly from each other and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits. Indian food is also heavily influenced by religious and cultural choices and traditions. There has also been Central Asian influence on North Indian cuisine from the years of Mughal rule. Indian cuisine has been and is still evolving, as a result of the nation’s cultural interactions with other societies.

India with large agriculture base is rightly poised to meet the food needs of the world. Government of India is committed to the growth of the food processing sector. With an increase in food processing, India can become the food factory of the world. There is a major national ‘Make in India’ program by National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) that is designed to facilitate investment, foster innovation, enhance skill development, to protect intellectual property and to build best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure for products made in India.  

This program is focused on various sectors in India e.g. automobile industry, aviation, biotechnology, chemical, construction, electrical, electronics, leather, IT, pharmaceutical, textile, food processing.  Make-In-India Conclave, 2015 is an initiative of NIFTEM to provide a common platform to all the stake holders like food processing industries, machine manufacturers and consultants and experts from various agencies for sharing their views to facilitate standardisation and mechanisation of traditional Indian food. This exchange of ideas should provide a road map for popularising Indian traditional foods worldwide, capturing the world food market and making India a global food basket. 

Indian cuisine is probably the most diverse cuisine in the world. The antiquated heritage of Indian cuisine goes back thousands of years and boasts of an assorted menu of not just one cuisine but many cuisines. India is home to one of the most aromatic and colourful cuisines in the world. 

Traditional Indian cuisine is rich and diverse in flavours, using distinct cooking methodologies, raw materials and authentic utensils, originating from a particular region in India. The traditional food of India has been widely appreciated for its fabulous use of herbs and spices. The cooking style varies from region to region. The Indian foods can be described as area specific like Kashmiri foods, Punjabi foods, Bengali dishes, Hyderabadi cuisine, Gujrati dishes etc., traditional foods are healthy, sustainable, and affordable and liked by every class of people.

Indian traditional foods are still region specific and have a great potential of commercialisation in India and abroad. For this, standard process and machineries for continuous preparation are required. Standardisation and mechanisation will help to prepare hygienic and safe foods which could capture the world food market. India can become the food basket of the world by tapping the potential of our traditional foods.

‘Make in India’ which is a flagship program of the government of India is known for its traditional foods, which are mostly confined to the unorganised sector at present. Aiming at the uniform and hygienic mass production of those highly demanded traditional food products throughout the country, it is imperative to have a discussion on scope of standardisation and mechanisation in food processing industries.

Puja Banerjee

Puja Banerjee

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