The food and drug administration is keeping a close watch on the online food business and has taken several steps to ensure compliance in the state of Maharashtra.
This was stated by Pallavi Darade, commissioner, Food and Drug Administration, Government of Maharashtra, at the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) Ice Cream Industry Conclave, which took place recently. The theme of the meet was Future of the Ice Cream Industry – Dynamics, Technology, Innovations and Scope for Growth.
The Government of Maharashtra is taking all necessary steps to ensure that proper hygiene is taken care of.
“In the last few months, we conducted raids at almost 350 outlets of online food delivery sources, and found out that almost 112 of them are operating without licenses. Many of them are operating out of unhygienic places. We have filed 200 such cases against them. These actions would benefit the consumers in the long run,” Darade said.
She added that the Food Safety and Standards Regulations adopted in Maharashtra were at par with the global laws. “In many cases we take the lead, and this is soon replicated by other states as well,” the FDA Maharashtra chief said.
Darade added that the ice cream industry, which is estimated to be worth Rs 15,000 crore is coming of age and it is high time to deliberate on the dynamics, technology and scope for growth by the industry.
“The Food Safety and Standards Regulations are relatively new, and the number of regulations on the number of products have come in play in 2011. But they are at par with the world standards,” she added.
Favourable government policies and a conducive business environment are the need of the hour for the sector to continue to grow at 15-20 per cent.
Devanshu Gandhi, chairman, CII Regional Task Force on Agriculture and Food, and managing director, Vadilal Industries Ltd, stated that despite the large population base, the Indian per capita consumption of ice cream was considered to one of the lowest, at just 400ml.
“Compare this with China at 3,000ml and the United States at 22,000ml. However, with several favourable factors like affordability, increase in disposable incomes and the booming middle class, this could soon change,” he added.
Gandhi stated that there was also a need for increasing the awareness of this sector. “The total advertising spends across various platforms is to the tune of Rs 60,000 crore, out of which the share of the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) sector is almost 30 per cent. However, the ice cream industry spends less than Rs 200 crore on advertising for its products,” he added.
Gandhi stated that ice cream was not considered in the same basket as the other dairy products like cheese and butter.
“The ice cream industry is taxed higher. We have to pay GST (Goods and Services Tax) at 18 per cent, while other dairy products are taxed at 12 per cent,” he added.
B Thaigarajan, chairman, Maharashtra State Council, and joint managing director, Blue Star, explained that as compared to other countries, India was known for region-specific sweets.
“In western countries, it is generally pastries and ice cream for desserts, However we have over 100 varieties of traditional sweets. The mindset is fast changing. We expect some major change to take place in the sector in the next 3-4 years. That is the reasons a lot of players are consolidating their position today,” he added.
Thiagarajan informed that a lot of multinational companies (MNCs) have taken steps and have set up dedicated outlets here.
“We have ice cream parlours and better delivery systems today. Things are definitely improving,” he added.

The Indian ice cream industry employs 15 lakh people and is considered one of the largest employers in the dairy and food processing industry.
Arabind Das, convenor, CII Maharashtra Panel on Agriculture and Food Processing, and chief operating officer, Godrej Tyson Foods Ltd, stated that the ice cream industry needed to be lauded for its first-generation entrepreneurs who have created some of the finest brands, which are second to none in the world.