There is a slow but steady shift in Indian consumers’ diet composition as they are moving from more cereal-based diet to one which has more of fruits, vegetables, milk and meat. While the number of crops grown may not have undergone a significant change, there is an increase in area (under cultivation) of fruits and vegetables. There is also a spurt in dairy, all indicating a transformation from production-driven supply chain to demand-driven value chain.
“Consumers today essentially have a lot more of vegetables, fruits, pulses as well as milk and meat. Apart from variety and convenience, consumers are also far more conscious about safety aspects as there is a growing concern about contaminants and pesticide residues,” Sivakumar said.
Apart from a shift from cereals to more of fruits and vegetables, consumers are also looking for more varieties in a particular agri produce, say a certain variety of wheat in his atta (flour) or for a certain kind of fruit. These were conventionally ignored in yield maximisation production driven system, however, requisite efforts need to be taken to produce the same.
It is important that various stakeholders, including large corporates, come forward so as to accelerate the transition and achieve a sizeable shift, he pointed out.
ITC for instance, which has been building its brands and growing the FMCG business, has been using these as “anchors” to work with farmers trying to facilitate the transition so that farmers can produce more of what is needed in the market than to produce and hope that he gets something good when he harvests.