Kochi: India has just become a hotter destination for outsourcing or offshoring. The Spices Board and a clutch of companies are working to position the country as a location for processing spices. At stake is a larger share of the $2 billion (Rs8,200 crore) global spices and flavours industry of which India already accounts for 37.5% by value (the country also accounts for 43.75% of the eight-lakh-tonnes-a-year global market).
India, executives in the industry said, has what it takes to become a processing hub: it has a daily processing (sterilize, extract and grind) capacity of 6,000 tonnes. UK’s Aromco Ltd and Austria’s Omega Flavours Technology Pvt. Ltd have already started offshoring processing work to India.
“Considering the technological expertise and processing infrastructure in the organized sector, India can emerge as the hub for spice and flavour processing,” said George Paul, director of Synthite Industrial Chemicals, a leader in India’s Rs500 crore spice oil extraction exports.
At a recent meeting of the American Spice Trade Association (ASTA) in Los Angeles, India’s Spices Board made a presentation highlighting the country’s processing expertise, said S. Kannan, director, Spices Board.
The huge capacity for cleaning, grinding, sterilization and extraction in India can be utilized by companies from other countries, said Kannan, who added that, in the presentation, the board advised other countries not to duplicate the infrastructure and add costs. Instead, these countries could make India the point for outsourcing the processing process where state-of-the-art facilities are already available, he said.
Though India still is a major supplier of bulk spices, the trend is changing and it has now moved to exporting value-added and processed spices, said Nawas Meeran of Eastern Condiments, a leading player in spice and curry masalas. Eastern recently tied up with Germany’s Biomeric to conduct microbiological tests of spices.
The company has a turnover of around Rs165 crore and exports the micro packs to West Asia, the US and Europe.
Synthite recently tied up with Austrian food ingredients processing enterprise Omega Flavours Technology to set up a unit at Kochi for manufacturing food ingredients. Synthite is also working on an alliance with Aromco for the manufacture of sweet flavours that will cater to the needs of the beverages, confectionary, ice-cream and bakery industry.
The next World Spice Congress will be held in Goa from 28–30 January next year. The congress is organized once in every two years by the Spices Board and the All-India Spice Exporters Forum. It is a platform for deliberations on spices and business interactions. Several delegates at the ASTA meeting expressed their desire to be present at the congress and look at the prospects India offered, said Kannan.