India’s sizzling frozen food market

Currently, India’s frozen food market is fragmented. It is projected to grow from US$1204.30 million in FY2021 to US$ 1841.28 million by FY2027F. Thus, there is a tremendous potential for new entrants to venture into this sector.

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Image credit: Image by -Rita-👩‍🍳 und 📷 mit ❤ from Pixabay 

With rise in dual career marriages, youth migrating to cities & living alone, digitization of F&B retail, increasing product innovation and advancements in cold chain landscape, the consumption of ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat food is rising. One such segment in the ready-to-eat/ready-to-cook segment is frozen food. From conventional products like ice-cream and frozen vegetables, to heat-and-eat & ready-to-cook meals like shahi paneer, convenience meals have become the go-to for millennials.

Thus, the global frozen food market is projected to grow from US$ 244.3 billion in 2020 to US$ 312.3 billion 2025 at a CAGR. Similarly, the Indian frozen food market is projected to grow from US$1204.30 million in FY2021 to US$ 1841.28 million by FY2027F. It is hardly a surprise that companies like FroGo – India’s first & largest online frozen food store – are making waves in the Indian start-up ecosystem.

Cooking up a storm!

The Netherlands, the USA, Spain, Brazil & Canada were the top 5 exporters of frozen food. India stands 15th in the global food trade, according to ITC Trade Map. India needs to pull up its socks if it wants to be among the top 10 exporters of this product. Currently, India’s frozen food market is fragmented. Bikaji, Capricorn Food Products India, Chevon, Iscon Balaji Foods, Kohinoor Foods, Kuppies, Mccain, Meatzza, Nutritotal India and Top Fresh International are some of the top companies in this segment. Thus, there is a tremendous potential for new entrants to venture into this sector.

Top 15 exporters & importers of frozen food in the world in 2021

S. No. Exporters Exported value in US$ billion in 2021 Importers imported value in US$ billion in 2021
1 United States of America 24.558007 China 38.679157
2 Netherlands 17.541389 United States of America 22.737343
3 Brazil 17.080652 Japan 19.886919
4 Germany 14.441831 Germany 13.766689
5 Spain 13.495049 France 10.899633
6 China 12.082098 Italy 9.587107
7 Australia 9.761491 Korea, Republic of 8.988202
8 France 9.534585 United Kingdom 8.769701
9 Belgium 9.343646 Spain 7.404022
10 Poland 8.625095 Netherlands 6.932094
11 New Zealand 8.250226 Hong Kong, China 5.73408
12 Canada 7.819788 Belgium 5.615539
13 Denmark 7.087916 Mexico 5.541809
14 Chile 6.794398 Russian Federation 4.414817
15 Italy 6.191805 Poland 0.0041956

Source: ITC Trade MapSome of the factors that make this market lucrative for new players in the segment include:

  • Frozen foods are profitable because they run on economies of scale model.
  • At the same time, they are often more affordable than their fresh counterparts.
  • There is a huge demand for such products as urban dwellers prefer convenience food amid their busy lives.

Recent innovations in the frozen food businessA lot of companies in the country are investing in novel technologies to stay ahead of their competitors. Some of the recent innovations in the frozen food business include:

  • Freeze-drying –

This technology is used by NASA preserve nutritional value, quicker rehydration and extend shelf life to improve the cuisine it sends for its astronauts.

  • Cryogenic freezing –

To minimize waste, these freezers speed up freezing process and reduce damage during production. Gases such as nitrogen and carbon dioxide are used for this process.

  • Isochoric freezing –

This freezing technology allows preserving biological matter at subfreezing temperatures without any ice formation in the products.

  • Individual Quick Freezing –

Companies like Saraf Foods, Taj Frozen Food India & Capricorn Group rely on this technology to ensure that the product maintains similar moisture, flavor and texture.Enhancing exportsClearly, India’s frozen food industry is at a nascent stage with numerous novel innovations and developments in the pipeline. Empowered with these innovations, Indian exporters can ship their products to a number of countries. In 2021, the top 10 importers of frozen food are China (US$ 28.7 billion), the United States of America (US$ 23.34 billion), Germany (US$ 12.73 billion), Japan (US$ 11.47 billion), France (US$ 8.27 billion), the United Kingdom (US$ 8.08 billion), the Netherlands (US$ 7.52 billion), Italy (US$ 6.57 billion), Korea (US$ 6.40 billion) and
Hong Kong (US$ 4.40 billion). Domestic companies can, therefore, network with relevant stakeholders in these sectors and expand their business.

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