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Technology can help food firms solve bottlenecks: Panellists at VCCircle summit
A panel discussion in progress at the VCCircle summit

Technology can help companies address bottlenecks and open fresh frontiers in the food sector, said panellists at News Corp VCCircle Food & Agri Investment Summit 2017.

Over the last three or four years, the advent of technological solutions in the food space has helped in improving convenience and service for the customers and brought about faster transactions. However, a key challenge in the food industry continues to be the supply chain—that is, transporting products from the farm to the processing centre and then to the distribution centre in an efficient manner, said Sameer Varma, founding member of Tuscan Ventures Pvt. Ltd.

Chiefly, the food industry has to push frontiers in building scale and innovating with price points, especially for premium products, and enhancing convenience for customers, said Srikumar Misra, founder, MD and CEO of Milk Mantra.

“Using better technology in the supply chain process would help companies scale up. In the milk sector, leveraging technology is crucial in ensuring timely delivery and proper last mile connectivity,” Misra said. “Technology can also help bring in transparency in payments and pricing while dealing with farmers,” he said.

Some production technologies can be adopted from developed countries, but they have to be customised for the Indian market and this can be developed only by working with farmers, said Vivek Nirmal, joint managing director, Prabhat Dairy.

There is an increasing shift towards healthy products in the beverages space, especially in carbonated drinks, Misra said.

On the other hand, in many food categories, consumers are still reluctant to switch to better products despite being aware that there is a high level of adulteration, he said.

“Yes, consumers are looking for healthy products, but the question is at what price,” said Prabhat Dairy’s Nirmal.

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