Blog: Dean BestWhy questions remain over India's potential

Dean Best | 7 May 2008

As expected, the Food Forum India conference in Mumbai as thrown up some bullish forecasts about the potential of the country’s food industry.

India, for all its challenges over distribution, infrastructure and, not least, political opposition to expansion in the retail sector, will be a “trailblazer” for the global food industry.

That bold prediction came from Kishore Biyani, the CEO of Indian conglomerate Future Group, which owns India’s largest retailer Pantaloon Retail.

Now, Biyani is betting big on the growth of organised retail in India. His Pantaloon business has some ambitious expansion plans, not least for its discount chain KB’s Fair Price.

However, doing business in India remains fraught with problems. From the lack of modern agriculture and inadequate distribution to the fierce local opposition to the growth of organised food retail, challenges abound.

While India is seen as providing all the answers to food manufacturers and retailers suffering in stagnant Western markets, industry would do well to remember that lots of unanswered questions remain, too.

For the latest coverage from Mumbai, please click here.


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