Food processing industry is going to be one of the hinges of the Indian economy in the 21st century. It can play a crucial role in raising agricultural productivity, employment generation and rural pros­perity. Studies based on Annual Survery of Indus­tries show that if output in these industries were to double, the employment would increase by 90 per cent (Hindu Survey of Indian Industry, 1998, p. 419).

According to the Food and Agricultural Organisa­tion’s (FAO) definition processed foods can be of three types: primary, secondary and tertiary. Pri­mary processed foods involve basic cleaning, grad­ing and packaging, e.g. packaged atta and branded tea.

Secondary processing means modification of the basic product to a stage just before the final preparation at the consumer’s kitchen, e.g. tomato puree, ground coffee, etc. Tertiary processing le to high value-added ready-to-eat products like berry products, ice cream, instant noodles, sauces jams etc.

The Indian processed foods industry, growing overall at about 15 per cent straddles all t’ categories, which are at different stages of development. For example, the packet tea market size is about Rs. 2,500crores, the packaged oils and vanaspati market Rs. 2,000 crores, packaged atta Rs. 2 crores, ice cream Rs. 450 crores and ketchup Rs. crores. Over 40 per cent of all packaged g consumed in urban India are foods and beverage while that in rural India is over 20 per cent.


The trend is deepening with the changing profile of the consumers. Internationally, it has been seen that a per capita GDP of $ 1500, in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, leads to a surge in process foods consumption. It is estimated that one out o every two persons in urban India and one out of every five persons in rural India will become part of the mass market by 2005.

This will lead to rapid growth in the demand for processed foods in the country. The total processed foods market in 2005 will be of the order of Rs. 225,000 crores. The top five items constituting two-thirds of this will be cereals, oils and fats, liquid milk, sugar and bakery.

Among the food processing industries men­tion may be made of flour (atta) milling, rice milling, dal milling, bakery, biscuit making, food packaging, instant food industries etc.

23.9.1. Flour Milling


Wheat is used as food in the form of flour or atta which is prepared in grinding stone mills driven by manual or mechanical power and large roller mills. Atta chakkis are common feature in every village and mohalla and have almost replaced tradi­tional house-hold hand-driven chakkis. Besides there are more than 200 large roller mills which produce flour (atta), maida, suji etc. Delhi, Meerut, Kanpur, Lucknow, Bathinda, Ghaziabad, Mumbai, Kolkata and Haora are important centres of flour milling industry in the country. Besides large scale demand of atta in the armed forces the consumption of packaged atta is increasing in urban elites.

Rice Milling

The husk and outer bran of the paddy are separated to obtain rice. This work is done by hand pounding at household level and by power-driven rice mills. In 1969-70 there were more than 60,000 rice mills in the country. Tamil Nadu had the largest number of rice mills followed by Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Orissa and Bihar. Recently the Food Corporation of India has installed 24 new rice mills each with a capacity of 4 tons of paddy per hour in different parts of the country.

The rice milling industry leaves rice-bran and rice-husk as by-products which can be utilised in ancillary industries like paper, oil, soap etc. The annual production of rice bran is estimated to be around 33 lakh tons in 1997-98.


The Indian Insti­tute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur provides requi­site assistance to the rice milling industry and con­ducts short-term training courses, etc. The basic research work on different applied aspects of rice- processing and by-products utilisation is carried out at the Paddy Processing Research Centre, than javur.

Consumer Food Industries

The consumer food industry mainly consists of ready-to-eat products or ready-to-cook products such as pasta products, cocoa-based products, bak­ery products, biscuits, soft drinks, etc. Of this bakery industry is the largest. The annual production of bakery products (bread, biscuits, pastries, cakes, buns, rusk, etc) is estimated to be in excess of 30 lakh tons (bread 15 lakh tons and biscuits 11 lakh tons). Recently pasta and products comprising noodles, vermicelli, macaroni and spaghetti are gain­ing popularity.

There are 20 units engaged in the manufac­ture of cocoa products like chocolates, drinking chocolates, cocoa butter, cocoa butter substitutes, and cocoa-based malted milk foods with a production of approximately 45,000 tons.


The production of soft drinks has increased from 4,450 million bottles in 1996-97 to 4,920 million bottles in 1997-98,

The installed capacity of fruits and vegetables processing industries has increased from 19.1 lakh tons in 1996-97 to 20.4 lakh tons in 1997-98. However, the production of processed fruits and vegetables has declined from 9.6 lakh tons in 1996-97 to 9.1 lakh tons in 1997-98.