Ready to Eat Food

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NEW ERA OF INDIAN READY TO EAT FOOD (RETORT FOOD – Having shelf life up to 18 months) Sanjeev Bhanga

India has made lot of progress in agriculture & food sectors since independence in terms of growth in output, yields and processing. It has gone through a green revolution, a white revolution, a yellow revolution and a blue revolution. Today, India is the largest producer of milk, fruits, cashew nuts, coconuts and tea in the world, the second largest producer of wheat, vegetables, sugar and fish and the third largest producer of tobacco and rice. Now the time is to provide better food processing & its marketing infrastructure for Indian industries to serve good quality & safest processed food like ready to eat food. It is opening a new window in world scenario as far as taste & acceptance is concerned. Therefore, Indian Government is providing more infrastructure for this sector. Excise duty is now ZERO % on RTE and 100 % tax deduction for the first 10 years for new units. This allows manufactures to bring down their prices & spreads its flavors to the world. The retort processed foods do not require rehydration or cooking and can be consumed straight from the pouch with or without pre-warming, depending upon the requirement of the users and the weather conditions. These foods meet the specific needs of convenience, nutritional adequacy, shelf stability, storage, distribution to the centers and have become very popular after the Year 2002. Some of the mouth-watering dishes in retort pouches include sooji halwa, upma, chicken curry, mutton curry, fish curry, chicken madras, chicken kurma, rajma masala, palak paneer, dal makhnil, mutter paneer, potato-peas, mutter mushroom, vegetable

pulav chicken pulav, and mutton pulav, etc. The pioneer introduction of retorting technology has made the sale of ‘Ready-to-Eat’ food products commercially viable with great taste.

• Ready to Eat Meals like already cooked or prepared lunch & dinner are relatively new products which came in market only a few years back and are now sold through retail general stores in especially made sealed aluminum laminates. • The retorting or sterilization process ensures the stability of the Ready-to-Eat foods in retort pouches, on the shelf and at room temperature. The application of sterilization technology completely destroys all potentially harmful micro-organisms, thereby making sure that the food product has a very long shelf life of over 12 months and needed no refrigeration. • When customer needs to eat, the food item pouch is either put in microwave oven to warm it or keep in heated water for a few minutes and then serve to eat. • Such ready to eat meals have been especially given to soldiers in army of many countries who require carrying their rations while on war front or while located far away from their main unit. • The advertisements like, "Hungry Kyaa" are adding zest to the market by popularizing such food items which are precooked and free from any preservative, and yet have a long shelf life of over 12-months. These food items are normally selling in pouches, well packed in cardboard printed boxes of

small book size and carry about 300 grams of cooked food at a price of about Rs. 40 to 200 in foreign market depending upon the type of dish packed. One packet of vegetable dish is normally sufficient for one meal for three persons and therefore falls in economic zone of consumer’s preferences.

Globalization of Indian food and its culture are the core factors for popularization of ready to eat foods. Main motivation for these ready to eat foods is fast growing foreign market. Retail outlet culture is now growing rapidly in India. Shelf life of these foods are at least 12-18 months. Quality, Taste and Flavor of these foods remains as good as fresh up to the expiry date. Women wanting to spend more time out of the kitchen. More working bachelors staying away from homes. Cost effective in...
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