Leading Italian food companies are eyeing up potential export markets in India, following the country's decision earlier this year to remove quantitative barriers on food product imports.

Many consider the potential of the Indian market to be huge, prompted by the large population and the growth of a sizable middle class, who are more willing to experiment in food choices.

Growing interest in new food products is also evident in metropolitan areas, while an increase in the female proportion of the nation's workforce has increased the demand for easily prepared but healthy food products.

Based in the north of the country, Italy's largest pasta manufacturer Barilla has already made inroads into the Indian market.

The brand name is well known through the pasta sold through major Indian retailers, which Barilla maintains is a food growing in popularity because of its bland taste, to which spices can easily be added.