FIWA: Bridging The Gap Between Government and MSMEs

– By Tanisha Saxena |

Food Industries Welfare Association (FIWA) has been set up as a catalyst between the government and medium and small-scale businesses. The organisation helps businesses grow by keeping them abreast of the development and changes in the food and business sector globally.

Food Industries Welfare Association (FIWA) came into existence in April 2018 when Dr. Girish Gupta decided to help out the Medium and Small scale industries in India. The idea goes back to 2017 when he was brainstorming ideas with his team. FIWA is registered under The Societies Registration Act, 1860 (All India Level Society) and aims to work for the benefit and upliftment of Medium and Small scale industries. 

The food processing industry is a huge segment wherein it is ensured that the food items are being made safely, attractively, nutritious and finally, are marketable. In essence, it is to look after the process of converting the raw food into final food items that we see in the groceries and use in the kitchen.

In a private chat with CMR, Dr. Girish Gupta Director of FIWA stated, how their goal to foster the Indian Food Processing Industry by providing incubation, promotion, support, training, and advocacy for ease of doing business is panning out across the industry.

Q1. How do you aim to support the small and medium businesses in the country?

Ans. By organizing various seminars and workshops, the association helps its members and keeps them abreast of the latest worldwide developments. Medium and small-scale industries (MSMEs) have evolved considerably in the past decade due to globalization and subsequent trade networking. If we go back to the 60s and 70s, before 2000, MSMEs were confined to the small-scale sector. 

This approach was indeed limiting when considering the larger concept. Fast forward to 2023, we now recognize the full potential of MSMEs and understand their role in the country’s economic growth. Furthermore, initiatives like Make in India focus on utilizing domestic resources to deliver quality products and services. 

It is crucial to note that we have plenty to explore within our country’s boundaries, eliminating the need to imitate other methods. However, we must acknowledge that our technology is not as advanced as desired.

Q2. The bakery industry is thriving at the moment. According to you what is the potential of the sector in India in the future and how do FWIA cater to the needs of the businesses?

Ans. According to the latest report, the Indian bakery market reached a size of US$ 11.3 billion in 2022. Looking forward, analysts expect the market to reach US$ 21.2 billion by 2028, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.06% during the period 2022-2028. 

Undoubtedly, the bakery sector is currently a roaring success. We sat down to analyze the rising consumption of bakery goods and noticed that over the years, the consumption of cakes on birthdays, special occasions, and festivities has stimulated market growth. 

I would also like to mention two factors here: first, the drastic change in people’s lifestyles. Nowadays, our busy lives lead us to opt for ready-to-eat food items. Secondly, the burgeoning food and beverage (F&B) industry, along with the expansion of quick-service restaurants (QSRs) and fast-food chains, has increased the usage of bread in preparing sandwiches, soups, burgers, and snacks. 

Gradually, we have become more health-conscious, leading manufacturers to introduce healthy, low trans-fat, multi-grain, and whole wheat bakery products. Moreover, the expansion of hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience stores, and departmental stores is offering lucrative growth opportunities to manufacturers operating in the country.

To boost and support the bakery sector, we are organizing a trade show for the bakery and chocolate industry. This three-day event expects approximately 180 national and international exhibitors, with an estimated footfall of over 12,000 trade visitors from across India and the industry. 

The purpose of this event is to gain clarity and understanding of market demands and identify any existing loopholes. Consequently, we aim to address the gaps in the industry, such as scaling up small businesses. The bakery industry is thriving, but it also needs structural improvement. 

By this, I mean that the sector is currently highly unorganized, and there is a need for better organization across all aspects. Although training schools are being established across the country, the focus should be on the entire process of bringing a product to the market. 

Our country consists of diverse populations, and the bakery industry should cater to a wider range of people. This will involve improving production finishing, accessibility, marketing, and other areas to ensure that products reach as many people as possible.

Q3. What are the key challenges for the food processing units in India?

Ans. There are, of course, many challenges, but the demand for retail, particularly for ready-to-eat food items, is enormous. With the constant changes in our lifestyle, the need for safe processed food is increasing. Processed food now has a market not only within the domestic territory but also overseas. 

To meet this demand, we need to adopt much better technology, such as advanced machinery. This will enable us to keep up with the demand and ensure a steady flow of raw materials from the farming community. 

With improved technology, we will also be able to maintain high-quality standards for our products. Overall, this will facilitate the greater development of businesses.

Q4. Tell us about the past events and the kind of impact they have had on the growth of the businesses.

Ans. In the past, FIWA organized the Bakers Technology Fair in 2022 at the HITEX Exhibition Center in Hyderabad. As part of the event, global leading professional buyers and delegates gathered and exchanged ideas on the latest innovations in the bakery and confectionery industry. 

Prior to this, FIWA also conducted an exhibition called Foodpro, where a broad spectrum of opportunities and solutions in food processing, packaging, dairy, beverages, and the retail segment were explored. 

Now, FIWA is preparing for the Global Food and Technology Expo 2023, which will be held in August at Pragati Maidan, Delhi. The event will include the Food Industry Icon Awards ceremony on August 25th, 2023.

Q5. What’s your take on the latest amendment by FSSAI to have nutritional value in the packaging?

Ans. Yes, FSSAI has made some amendments to include nutritional value on food packaging. It is crucial that this regulation specifies the requirements for displaying information in food service establishments. 

With the growing demand for processed food, it has become necessary to inform consumers about the nutritional value of the food. This helps consumers make informed choices. In the West, people can find an overview of the ingredients printed on the label, along with key information such as nutritional value.

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