A new laboratory in southern India will provide food manufacturers with a range of services in the domain of food technology. Supported by a Rs.10m (€0.19m) grant from the Indian government, or more precisely the Ministry of Food Processing, CRAFT (Centre for Research & Applied Food Technology) is seen as an important step in supporting India's burgeoning food industry.
UK laboratory Reading Scientific Services was selected to provide ongoing analytical assistance to CRAFT.
Aruna Rangachar, director of CRAFT and also a major investor, commented: "CRAFT has set its sights high and is conscious of the needs of its customers. For this reason, we needed an international partner with in-depth knowledge of the food business, excellent credibility, a strong orientation towards customer service, good business efficiencies, and a strong desire to develop a presence in the Indian market through partnership."
The Rs.48m CRAFT facility, also set up with the support of the Confederation of Indian Food Trade & Industry (CIFTI), will provide technical services covering testing & analyses, contract research, new product development, sensory evaluation, consultancy & training to the food industry in India and abroad. The centre is aiming for revenues of Rs. 150 million in the first five years.
Rangachar added: "This is the ideal time for CRAFT to be born because it will meet the needs of the Indian food industry during a transitionary phase. Indian food habits are changing. The country is moving from a high consumption of subsistence foods towards a more varied diet.
Currently, the Indian food industry is primarily composed of the SME sector. The Indian consumer still has leanings towards their own traditional foods and the SMEs have targeted these customers at regional levels, but are starting to expand. Quality and stability issues are crucial for improving product reach cross-country and therein lies CRAFT's crucial role in offering testing and applied research services.
To compete effectively in international markets, India will need to have effective products, world class manufacturing processes and practices, and consistent quality through rigorous testing, and CRAFT will assist the industry to reach the required standards," she concluded.