Food firms should focus on organic products, say industry experts

Organic food will be the next big step for the food and agriculture industry as consumers focus more on quality, industry executives said on Wednesday at the VCCircle Agri and Food Investment Summit 2015.

Industry executive and analysts also felt that a section of customers is willing to pay a premium for fresh, quality products and that food companies should take advantage of changing consumer preferences.

The summit was held in Mumbai and was attended by more than 250 delegates.

The panelists also highlighted the role of the private sector in developing supply chain models and gave the credit for companies focusing on improving quality to the consumers. Consumer awareness is spreading fast as technology has penetrated to the villages and smaller towns, they said. 

"The thrust on cold chain and quality is from customer," said Rajat Gupta, founder and CEO of Tessol.

Vigyan Gadodia , MD & CEO of Sahaj Agro Farm, said that there is a huge potential for corporate investment in the agriculture and food sector as long as there is consumer awareness. "The biggest problem in the system that we are facing today is trust deficit," he added.

The panel focused on the use of branding to build trust and noted that companies are also investing on quality control to retain customer trust.

While panel discussions at the day-long conference ranged from the evolution of new food categories to charting a growth trajectory for mainstream food companies, the overall theme was focused on quality control. 

The last panel discussion at the event highlighted the use of technology in transforming the food sector. 

"Technology is largely there... it depends on how you use it," said Sagar Daryani, co-founder and CEO of Wow Momo.

The panelists also said that technology can only help by offering a differentiated product and not through discounts and that the companies must work out sustainable business models to survive.

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