Save Food from farm to fork – a modest proposal

Where, what and how is food produced and wasted in India?


The retail food and restaurant industry as well as the food waste collection systems will also have to be considered. As will the important input and ancillary industries of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation pumps and pipes and farm equipment.

One reads headlines in the better daily newspapers proclaiming that ‘Agriculture in India is suffering while agricultural startups are blossoming.’ The scale of Indian agriculture is said to be Rs. 24.42 lakh crore (US$ 370 billion) out of a total GDP of Rs. 113.5 lakh crore (US$ 1.7 trillion) or approximately 21.5% in the 2015-16 financial year.

It is reported that the total Indian food market in 2015 was of the order of Rs. 13.3 lakh crore (US$ 200 billion) of which about US$ 25 billion is imports according to our guesstimate based on partial data from the Indian Ministry of Commerce. (According to Vinod Kotwal, director, CODEX, 8.42 million tonnes of food were imported in 2012-13.) The level of food export and its trends also need to be quantified.

We do not have an estimate of the food processing industry in India. However, one current estimate puts the level of the processed food market at Rs. 4.9 lakh crore (US$ 74 billion) or 37% of the total food industry in 2015. A serious aspect of our research is to merely put all the secondary data on the same page – that is to say to match the currencies, exchange rates, units and even the calendar and financial years.

According to Arvind Singhal of Technopak, the packaged food market in 2015 was approximately  Rs. 1.8 lakh crore (US$ 27 billion) implying that packaged foods are 38% of the total processed food market and 13% of the total food market in India. However, Singhal points out that the packaged ready-to-eat food market is currently about Rs. 3,000 crore (US$ 450 million) that is 1.6% of the total packaged food market in India.

What are the various points of wastage from farm to fork and how can we determine these with primary research, secondary data and by working with the numerous expert and concerned  informants and agencies in industry and government? What are the wastage points apart from seed, water, fertilizers, produce loss in transplanting, loss to blight, loss to drought, flood and storms. Losses throughout the food supply chain from planting, cultivation, harvesting, transport, slaughter, disease, storage, distillation, processing, transport, retail and consumer waste.

IppStar is undertaking a multi-client study on food wastage in India. This study will examine food production, processing, packaging, distribution, retail and export and import in the country in order to establish the key leakages and wastages in the circular economy of food. We are calling on experts to contribute their knowledge and for sponsors to support the project.

Many of the results of the food wastage in India report will be presented at the two-day IppStar-Packtech India Conference on Packaging Design, Innovation and Technology on 16 and 17 December 2016 in Mumbai. It is also hoped that some of the data will be presented at the Third Save Food Congress at interpack in Dusseldorf in May 2017.

– Purva Dwivedi,,

Packaging South Asia is the cooperating media partner for drupa 2016 which is scheduled to be held from 31 May to 10 June at Dusseldorf, Germany.

What’s hot at drupa?
You have heard it before: packaging will be centre-stage; sustainability; automation and industry 4.0; Print 4.0; machines will talk to each other; machines will talk to the cloud. 3D printing. And lastly digital printing.

Digital print will not take the place of offset at this drupa. Digital inkjet is coming in a big way with at least three or four B1 (40-inch wide) inkjet presses at the show but they will all be talking future, future, future. The talk will be of 2017, 2017-end, 2018 and there will be many riders in terms of speed and capital and consumables cost. So digital will again threaten but it will fail to click in our market which is happy with the cost of offset printing at 40-inch widths at a speed of 10,000 to 18,000 sheets an hour; or the cost of wide web gravure and flexo printing of laminates at speeds from 150 to 450 metres a minute.

I hope to see many of you at drupa and for the rest of you, if you are not there you have missed it – it’s almost impossible to bring the complete excitement to you in our reviews of the event although our fabulous four team and friends will try in our review issues of Indian Printer & Publisher and Packaging South Asia.

– Naresh Khanna,