Food industry innovating like never before: Rinka Banerjee

Rinka Banerjee, founder of Thinking Forks Consulting shares the key takeaways of the FICCI food report released during the IFNIS 2021 summit.

29 Oct 2021 | By Aultrin Vijay

Banerjee: Greater market access through go-to-market channels is providing a great opportunity for food innovators

During the India Food and Nutrition Innovation Summit 2021 (IFNIS 2021) – organised by FICCI and Thinking Forks and supported by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries – held from 27-28 October 2021, a knowledge paper titled Innovation in Food & Nutrition: Towards a Healthier India was released.

The report aims to highlight the gaps when it comes to nutrition, emerging consumer and market trends that are driving consumer choices in food and beverage products.

The report was materialised with the help of Protein Food and Nutrition Development Association of India (PFNDAI) and Mintel, which provided insightful data to FICCI and Thinking Forks.

Rinka Banerjee, founder of Thinking Forks Consulting, explained, “Some of the area that is covered in this report is the dietary changes, demographic changes and rapid urbanisation, which is happening in our homes.

Banerjee said the report would touch upon the nutritional status of the country. “India is going through a rapid demographic and nutrition transition. Consumers in India like elsewhere in the world are looking for active healthier lifestyle solutions through food and beverages. This strong stated need has also been accelerated due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This has also led to the growth of categories such as functional foods and nutraceuticals,” she stated.

“Equally, India also has the double burden of malnutrition on one end and over nutrition on the other leading to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, overweight, cardiovascular diseases and so on,” Banerjee said. “The food industry is innovating like never before to meet the growing consumer needs and provide healthier choices in food and beverages through extensive R&D in functional ingredients, novel processing technologies, and industry-academia collaborations.”

She said the report will highlight the consumer trends, which are driving consumption in the space. “Covid-19 has really prioritised healthy eating for consumers. Consumers are focusing a lot on health when they are shopping for food and of course they're looking for better nutrition in terms of higher protein, lower fat and so on,” Banerjee added.  

Apart from that, the report will shed light on innovations by small and medium scale enterprises. Banerjee said that consumers today are much aware and are trying to make scientifically validated functional claims based on traditional medicine, and there has been a lot of growth in functional foods.

Banerjee hoped that all stakeholders will make use of the report to make valid and scientific choices in terms of food processing and adopting newer and better technologies.

She explained: “Greater market access through various go-to-market channels is providing a great opportunity for food innovators. In this report there are insights on some of the key trends, nutritional need gaps and Innovations in the Indian marketplace.

“This report also provides a glimpse of the technologies from industry and academia that are enabling growth in food and nutrition related products, charting the path forward towards a healthier India.”

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