The first challenge in the Indian context is the preference to buy fresh food. Indians are for long used to buying fresh fruits, vegetables and poultry. Changing this buying behaviour will need sustained investment in customer education. The biggest challenge will be to convince that the taste of the meat and its nutrient value is largely undisturbed during processing.
The second challenge is the feared loss of employment among a section of wholesale traders and butchers, who could become redundant if the processed segment grows. As the processed meat industry gains share, such intermediaries often find different roles in the new supply chain network. In addition, we could see an increase in employment in processing plants.
The third challenge is upgrading the processing and supply chain infrastructure. Capacity utilisation in India’s processing plants is around 50 per cent, and is hence not an issue. However, it is the supply chain infrastructure that needs to be invested in. A robust cold chain from the processing plants to storages and extending to retail refrigeration will be needed. Favourable government policies will also be needed to attract foreign investments in this area.