Processed Food In India

Dr Shuchi Upadhyay Tiwari, Dept. of Food Technology , Uttaranchal University, Dehradun

2017-09-08 02:07:22



Food is the basic requirement than shelter, cloth, gadgets, status and other daily needs. There is tremendous growth of world population, urbanization and privatization. In spite of increased food production there is danger to shortfall in supply. Consequently, there must be greater and more efficient utilization of the existing food sources and development of new ready to eat processed food.

Transformation of raw food ingredients by chemical& physical treatment to form new food product is generally known as processed food.  Food processing typically involves activities such as mincing, macerating, liquefaction, emulsification, baking, roasting, pasteurization, pickling and many kind of other treatments. These treatments enhances taste and shelf life of food with many other benefits to food and agro industry but regular consumption with their overdose can increase micro and macro nutrients in individual body.

Current dietary behaviors and practices observed in children and adolescents may have harmful consequences on their health. The adverse health consequences that may result from excessive intake of soda and sweetened beverages; fast-food consumption;

Rapid urbanization and changes in social and cultural practices have modified the food habits of different community in India. Industrial development in Indian cities has compelled labor from village to migrate to cities in search of employment. It is estimated that within the next ten years, half of the population will be living and working in urban areas. Increase in buying power and long hours spent away from home commuting to work places, make convenience foods a necessity in every home. The ever – increasing market for convenience foods, be it tinned, canned, chilled, frozen or preserved operation in food processing.

The urban work force does not have the time to follow the traditional recipes and prefers picking up packed, clean, and reasonably priced meals rather than returning home from work and doing domestic chores. Processed food required little or no time to prepare. A packet of potato chips, Frozen Green peas and carbonated drinks are examples of processed food. A packet of instant dhokla, Idly, Dosa and cake are processed food.

Processed food need to be handled with care because one source of infection can contaminate thousands of pre packed items. Take away meals should not be kept for a long time. Temperature and time control should be observed during storage.  Packed food varies widely in their palatability, nutrient content and cost.

The inclusion of processed cereals in the diet has a positive impact on total macronutrient and micronutrient intakes in adults and children. Compared with children and adolescents consuming higher amounts of processed cereals which increase amount of sugar, salt and calories in increased amount

All processed food are not as good as they mention in their products in many vegetable and non vegetable soups Corn flour, edible vegetable oil, thickener, softening agent, sugar, salt, dehydrated vegetables, dried glucose syrup, edible vegetable fat, yeast extract powder, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, acidity regulator, flavour enhancer include which is not good in excess amount in regular diet.

Flavor enhancers are "colouring agents which are toxic. They put the liver and kidney into overdrive, since these organs have to work extra hard to wash away chemicals from the system and make them safe for the body. This means that the overworked liver is unable to do its regular work. hydrolyzed vegetable protein contains up to 30 per cent MSG, which is known to trigger headaches, rapid heart rate, chest pain and cause nausea. "Moreover, yeast extract powder only increases the bad bacteria (yeast) in the body. This causes problems with the pH levels and creates acidic blood condition, therefore decreasing immunity.

Nowadays life has become hectic and there is hardly time enough even for essential tasks like eating well-cooked meals and snacks. This is the reason that most people are opting for ready to eat processed food and snack items. However, most of these processed items available in the market need not necessarily be healthy. In fact, when it comes to snacks, most of the processed food stuff available in the market is loaded with cholesterol and calories

The market is anticipated to grow on account of increasing working population, growing per capita disposable income, rising per capita expenditure on prepared food, increasing middle class and affluent consumers, etc. With the rising employment opportunities and changing lifestyle of consumers, the demand for ready-to-eat food products in the country is projected to grow during the forecast period as well. India has a large base of young consumers, who form majority of the country’s workforce. These young consumers hardly find time for traditional cooking due to their busy life styles which further creates significant potential for ready-to-eat food products.

Though rising per capita disposable income of consumers, especially upper and lower middle income group, is driving India’s ready-to-eat food market, a large chunk of Indian consumers is still price conscious, which poses a challenge for the ready-to-eat food manufacturers and suppliers. Further minor variation in prices directly affects the preference of brands/products among the Indian consumers. To offset this challenge, major players are increasingly focusing on offering high-quality RTE food products at lower prices.

Such ready-to-eat foods do not have set standards under Food Safety Rules and are covered under the broader header of ‘proprietary food’. So, we evaluated these under relevant standards set for proprietary food. We bought four popular ready-to-eat mutter paneer brands – Aashirvaad, Haldiram’s, MTR and Sanskriti – and evaluated whether these were fit for consumption. While at it, we also got to know which one among these four was better than the others.

Inadequate intakes of fresh fruits, vegetables, fiber rich foods, and dairy and other calcium-rich foods; reduced levels of physical activity; and increasing obesity rates indicate a need to revisit the diet and lifestyle characteristics of this age group.

Indian food products are hygienically processed and packed taking into consideration all international standards. So, definitely they are not unhealthy though they might be compromised slightly on nutrition. 

Processed food can be one of alternative source of food. It should not involve in regular diet. Because of high energy and sodium which can increase blood pressure and weight of any individual.