food-processing market

India’s food industry sector is the most influential segment of the Indian economy. It serves as a critical link between India’s agricultural and industrial sectors, which are two of the country’s most essential elements. Following China, India is the world’s second-largest food producer.

The Indian food sector is on the verge of a massive expansion, with its contribution to global food commerce expanding year after year. Because of its enormous potential for value addition, the food sector in India has emerged as a high-growth and high-profit sector, particularly in the food processing business.

The Government of India, which controls around 32% of the country’s overall food market, has played a key role in the growth and development of the food processing industry. The Ministry of Food Processing Industries, on behalf of the government, is working hard to encourage investment in the industry. It has given its approval to joint ventures, foreign partnerships, industrial licenses, and units that are solely focused on exports.

Solar energy is mostly used for drying processes in the food processing industry. Solar vegetable and fruit dryers that operate at or below 55 degrees Celsius are ideal for this application. Solar technologies have also been developed for a variety of other processes over time. Solar concentrators are the most efficient when it comes to boiling, steaming, blanching, and roasting, while Solar Air Dryers/Heaters are the most efficient when it comes to eliminating moisture. Integration of food processing sector knowledge that has opened prospects for employing alternative renewable energies for post-harvest food processing will take a lot of work.

Process heat and other thermal applications have a lot of promise with solar energy devices and systems. These applications rely heavily on fuel oil, which emits a lot of greenhouse gases and poses a risk to the environment. Every year, India consumes almost 100 million tonnes of oil, with the industrial sector accounting for 40% of total consumption. Around 40-50 percent of total consumption is in the thermal temperature range below 250 °C, which equates to about 15 million tonnes of fuel each year. India has seen the fastest increase in oil demand, rising from 15 million to 16.9 million in just 14 months. Refrigeration, drying, and canning are just a handful of the many processes used in the food sector. Because cleanliness and production are the most important factors to consider, solar energy is a significant benefit for this industry.

Market Size

India’s food and grocery sector is the sixth-largest in the world, with retail accounting for 70% of total sales. The Indian food processing sector, which accounts for 32% of the country’s overall food market and is rated fifth in terms of production, consumption, export, and anticipated growth, is one of the country’s most important industries. It accounts for 8.80 and 8.39% of GVA in Manufacturing and Agriculture, respectively, as well as 13% of India’s exports and 6% of overall industrial investment. The Indian gourmet food sector is worth US$ 1.3 billion and expanding at a 20% CAGR.

In India, the online meal ordering industry is still in its infancy, but it is rapidly expanding. With online meal delivery companies such as FoodPanda, Zomato, TinyOwl, and Swiggy gaining traction through partnerships, the organized food industry has a bright future. In 2016, the internet meal delivery sector expanded by 150 percent year over year, with a Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of US$ 300 million.

food-processing market
food-processing market

Food processing systems are classified according to their scale, ranging from local family consumption to big commercial consumption capable of supplying massive volumes of food worldwide. Although energy efficiency can be increased across the board, the reliance on fossil fuels varies substantially depending on the size of the food processing system; consequently, more attention must be paid to high-energy-consuming systems to minimize their consumption.

  • Subsistence producers are households that participate in the most fundamental types of small-scale farming and fishing, producing food only for their consumption. Subsistence farmers rely on minimal energy inputs, which are often derived from human and animal labor. In most cases, these energy inputs are left out of global energy figures.
  • Small farms: Depending on modernity, small family farming units can engage in a variety of activities, such as growing small gardens or rice fields, organic vegetables, orchards, cattle raising, private fishing boats, and dairy herds (from a few to dozens of cattle). These farms may do a variety of things depending on the level of modernity.
  • Small business: These farms can be operated by a family, although they are usually privatized. They put forth a little more effort and hire a few more staff than small farms. These businesses may minimize their reliance on fossil fuels by improving energy efficiency and generating renewable energy on-site, which may provide extra advantages to the local community.
  • Large farms: Fish trawler fleets, feed farms, sugar businesses, and palm oil farms are examples of corporate food systems that rely on large direct external supply chain energy inputs. Large agricultural estates might be owned and managed by a processing mill. Local communities that are part of a developing cooperative are more likely to reap some benefits. Large corporations, on the whole, have access to investment finance for renewable energy and energy-saving technology. Energy can be utilized on or off-farm to generate additional revenue.
Food Industry Scale Fossil Fuel Dependency Capital Availability Major Food Markets Energy Intensity
Subsistence Level Zero Micro-finance Own Use Low
Small Family Unit Low/Medium Limited Local Own Use Low to High
Small Business High Medium Local/Regional/Export Low to High
Large Corporate High Good Regional Process Export Low to High

Type Of Food Industry

There are various food industries, although we can identify some of the main industries that are the focus of this work:

  • Dairy farms
  • Meat farms
  • Grain and oilseed milling
  • Sugar and confectionery processing
  • Fruit and vegetable processing
  • Bakery industry

Energy-Consuming Technology

The main energy-consuming technologies are present in various steps, and they are detailed as follows

Drying: This process consists of artificially drying cereals after harvesting and before storage and transport. The energy used is approximately 0.5-0.75 MJ/kg, which could be electricity, natural gas, or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), to dry wet grain to an appropriate storage moisture content [23]. This step could be one of the more energy-intensive operations, especially for developing countries.

Storage: This process consists of maintaining food at the proper temperature conditions to avoid degrading the quality of the product and provide both safe and high-quality foods. The typical machines used for storage in the food industry are energy-consuming and include refrigerators and freezers. Storage involves approximately 1-3 MJ/kg product of retail food products.

Food and beverage processing: this process represents the transformation of agricultural products into food and requires energy for heating, cooling, and electricity. The amount of energy needed is approximately 50-100 MJ/kg.

Food cooking: this process involves applying heat to food. It consumes approximately 5-7 MJ/kg of energy.

Evaporation: This process involves partially removing water from liquid food via boiling. It consumes approximately 2.5-2.7 MJ/kg.

Dehydration: this process involves reducing moisture in food to low levels for improved shelf life by adding one or more forms of energy to the food.

Filtration: this process involves separating solids from a suspension in a liquid via a porous medium, screen, or filter cloth, which retains the solids and allows the liquid to pass through. The techniques to save energy on these processes are presented in the next sections

food-processing market

Energy Consumption

Food production is energy-intensive across the board and significantly reliant on the use of fossil fuels. Agricultural production and processing are the two most energy-intensive activities. Let’s look at some graphs to see how much energy food preparation uses:

energy consumed to produce dairy products
Energy Consumed in meat processing
Energy Consumed to process fruits and vegetables

Why Renewable Energy Should Be Chose For Food Processing

RE is predicted to account for a higher proportion of overall electricity generation on the new system. As a result, RE was suggested as a source of energy for the food business. Alternatives to traditional diesel generators or electric distribution lines include photovoltaic (PV) and wind generators. The RE planning (PV and wind) of a dairy farm, for example, were analyzed, and it was discovered that RE could offer a significant backup of 136 GWh/year to the Algerian grid while also reducing CO2 emissions by 80 million tonnes.

This investigation was supplemented by, who confirmed the technical and economic viability of installing PVs in Algerian dairy farms. Milking peaks could be avoided by combining solar energy with energy storage. Solar energy could be used in thermal processes like drying. Solar energy is used directly in rural regions to dry agricultural products. Longer drying times, difficulties managing the drying process, and contamination are some of the drawbacks. Solar dryers have emerged as a viable answer to these problems.

System Design Methodology

When considering the methodology to tackle this problem, several factors should be taken into consideration:

  • Solar energy is fluctuating daily and annually.
  • Consumption is governed by a baseload and relatively minor variations.
  • A weekly pattern exists due to the working week cycle.
  • Freshness requirement in food processing.


The food business consumes a lot of energy and emits a lot of greenhouse gases. The future issues must be assessed because the predicted increase in food consumption will not be equal to the increase in energy capacity. As a result, considerable energy efficiency strategies must be established. As a result, many energy efficiency solutions in the food business have been discussed in this research. The background on food processing technology classification was initially presented, with an emphasis on energy-consuming methods. Following that, common energy-saving opportunities were discussed. Waste-to-energy, demand response, and Business 4.0 were among the new developments mentioned for the food industry. To provide electricity or thermal energy during peak periods, the utilisation of renewable energy and energy storage is becoming increasingly important. Although traditional and new trends in food processing energy efficiency appear to be potential avenues to decarbonize the sector, practical implementation is currently restricted. To better incentivize users to adopt energy saving techniques, appropriate policies must be implemented. For starters, many sectors are hesitant to change their processes; as a result, incentives for demand flexibility must be supplied. Furthermore, incentives must be offered to encourage the procurement of long-term profitable smart food processing systems. Because there will be a gap between food production (which will expand by 70%) and energy production in the future, significant investments in the energy industry will be required. Investing in renewable energy for generating could help to reduce GHG emissions. Furthermore, appropriate standards for various energy efficiency measures may be set to achieve large energy savings.

How Can We Help?

Hope this information about “Solar Energy For Food Processing Industry” helps you to design your solar solution for the steel production mill as per your requirement.

If you are planning to start a solar business or install a solar solution, you can connect with Ornate Solar to get the best assistance with the best prices for solar panels and inverters. We are the official partner of Canadian Solar panels & Renewsys solar panels in India. We are also the official distributor of SolarEdge inverters with DC optimizers, Enphase microinverters, Fronius On-Grid Inverters, and Havells solar inverters in India.

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About The Author

Kamini Gupta is the Content Developer at Ornate Solar. She is a solar enthusiast and has worked with several well-known solar brands and experts in India. She is also a poet and a storyteller and has performed in many open mics events.

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kamini ornate

About The Author

Kamini Gupta is the Content Developer at Ornate Solar. She is a solar enthusiast and has worked with several well-known solar brands and experts in India. She is also a poet and a storyteller and has performed in many open mics events.