ITC Foods Chief Executive Officer Chitranjan Dar on Thursday said the task on hand was to develop functional food in India and to recognise the right kind of functional food items that will sell in the country.
“The task at present is to find the right functional food which will sell in India and this market will grow with the right kind of R&D and marketing... I see a spurt in early functional food launches in the coming 5-10 years, with adequate infrastructure in place,” Dar told delegates at the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s (BCIC) Conference on “The Future of Health & Wellness — Nutraceuticals& Functional Foods” here.
According to Dar, “The definition of functional food is that which not only provides healthy benefits to people, but should also be seen claiming to do so.” But the food regulator is watchful of these claims, Dar added.
“Functional foods are a new concept in India and it is difficult to convince people about its benefits... The functional foods introduced in India must satisfy benefits of both taste and health,” Dar said, adding that in terms of making food functional itself, a majority of the malnourished population must be provided with affordable, safe and nutritious food.
“Dejunking of snacks and fortifying food products frequently consumed by the masses with nutrients have become important,” he said.
Talking about the packaged food industry in India, Dar said it is $20-25 billion worth, in comparison to the overall $300 billion food market.
“If we look at packaged foods in the background of the overall food space, we must look at the former as one which provides taste and indulgence, should be convenient to consume and must have fair amount of health and nutritional benefits,” he said.