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Food safety is the main factor behind the popularity of organic foods The concept of organic farming is basically the same ancient concept which our forefathers used to have before the coming of chemicals and inorganic substances. Now, organically produced food has begun to attract a lot of attention and there is a lot of publicity and marketing to promote organic food in India. Is this a trend and a passing phase, or is organic food here to stay? Vishal Jalan, Managing Director of Kolkata-based Aricha Trading Company in conversation with Azeem Haider, Correspondent, Agri Business & Food Industry, talks about the market dynamics of organic foods in India.

powder and in turmeric. These artificial flavorings and additives are causing nerve disorders and even birth defects. Concerned consumers are avoiding foods that are not certified or guaranteed for purity. So opting for the richer quality pure organic food is becoming more and more prevalent in India. This has been helped by passionate purveyors of organic food like our own team and our associated farmer groups.

How has the market for organic foods in India evolved over the years? In May 2007, Aricha launched its range of certified organic spices in New Delhi. We had to compete with the lower priced so-called organic products available in the stores, many of which were not genuine. So, we started educating consumers to look for products by manufacturers who guaranteed / certified the genuineness of their products. Certified organic foods are authenticated at different stages by independent certifying agencies. The market for such products is evolving fast as the Indian consumer is highly aware and is demanding products that ensure safety and health for their family. What are the factors that are driving growth of organic foods in India? Food safety is the main factor. Everyday, there are alarming reports of food adulteration ranging from cancer causing chemicals and food colours being used in red chilli


What are your distribution and supply channels? A reliable supply chain is crucial in order to build trust with retailers and consumers. We select pure farms in the deserts of Rajasthan and in the hilly forests of Orissa. These farms are far removed from the lethal grasp of pollution and contamination. This ensures pure farm produce grown in the right environment and with sustainable soil enrichment. We supply directly to retailers including hypermarkets, supermarket chains and independent organic food retailers. Inventory is made available locally in order to prevent delays due to weather and transport disruptions. Also new products are added to the range only after assuring their quality first and then their quantity. This is managed by our growing number of hawk-eyed, quality conscious field officers and our enterprising sales team which is present across the country. How proactive is the Indian government in promoting organic food in India? The Indian Spices Board and APEDA are taking a number of initiatives under the Ministry of Commerce schemes for

AgriBusiness & Food Industry w October 2012

Export Market Development of organic foods. Joint co-exhibition at international trade fairs at nominal costs has been instrumental in giving us a platform to attract international buyers. Certain state governments like Rajasthan, Bihar, Sikkim and Uttarakhand have taken steps to educate farmers on scientfic processes and inputs involved in organic farming. What are the challenges faced by retailers and manufacturers of organic foods? The biggest challenge is ensuring the supply chain - quantity and quality. Quantity can be arranged relatively quickly by converting more farmlands to organic farming. It takes about three years for a farm to get certified as organic, as all chemical residues in the soil have to be eliminated. Quality can be developed only by patience and perseverance over a much longer period. We are mainly exporting to the most stringent markets of Japan and this has helped us to learn and adopt increasingly robust food traceability systems and we are investing in the highest quality of manpower across all levels. What are your future plans? The growing awareness of where and how our food is produced is transforming food from being looked at as a commodity to being understood as the key to health. ‘Let food be thy medicine and not medicine be thy food’. This is why we invest in richer talent, richer quality control and only select the richer soils of pure organic farms. We are reaching out to new markets from Orissa to Osaka and ensuring that the informed consumer is able to get a richer taste of India. This is Aricha’s mission.


India's only monthly magazine having maximum presence in National & International Exhibitions. Regular topics cover the food processing sect...


India's only monthly magazine having maximum presence in National & International Exhibitions. Regular topics cover the food processing sect...