Mumbai: Product quality and safety are gaining more importance among consumers in India as multinationals such as Mondelez International Inc., the snacks maker separated from Kraft Foods Group Inc., French food and beverage maker Groupe Danone SA and German toy company Simba Dickie Group expand manufacturing and sales in the country, said a report released on Thursday.
The proportion of consumers who deem quality and safety to be important has increased to 64% from 48% in 2007, said the report by TÜV SÜD South Asia Pvt. Ltd, a safety certification and inspection services provider. Their numbers will rise in the years to come, giving rise to a parallel industry in testing, inspection and certification of products, it said.
“India has become the 20th largest exporting country and the target set for India’s merchandise exports is expected to double to $500 billion in 2013-2014. These exports will need to be tested for their safety to increase their global acceptance," said Ishan Palit, chief executive officer, TÜV SÜD Product Service Division.
The company is targeting a sevenfold increase in Indian revenue by 2020 .
Even as consumer awareness of the need for product safety increases, Indian safety standards are behind those of the UK, the US and Japan and manufacturers have often been found to do just the bare minimum to meet the standards, said Harminder Sahni, managing director, Wazir Advisors, a consulting firm.
TÜV SÜD’s study, the Safety Gauge, is based on independent global research commissioned by TÜV SÜD to investigate consumer and business attitudes towards product safety.
The research was undertaken in the US, the UK, China, India and Japan—markets that represent 47% of global gross domestic product. It included surveys of more than 5,000 consumers and 500 managers in manufacturing, distribution and retail companies that operate in the food and beverage, children’s products and consumer electronics industries.