Large dairy and food companies, such as Parag Milk Foods, Keventer Agro Ltd and Mother Dairy, are eyeing the government’s recently launched production linked incentive (PLI) scheme that covers manufacturing of processed foods.
While some of these companies are considering applying for the plan, others have already submitted expression of interest to the Ministry of Food Processing Industries for availing the scheme for manufacturers of processed foods like ready-to-eat foods, processed fruits and vegetables, mozzarella cheese and packaged sauces among others.
The j10,900 crore PLI scheme for the food processing industry was approved earlier this year, with an intent to support creation of global food manufacturing champions, support Indian brands of value-added food products in the international markets, and increase employment in the food processing sector.
The government issued detailed guidelines on the scheme in May, inviting expression of interest from companies willing, and eligible, to apply for the production-linked incentive plan. The deadline for this was 17 June. However, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries on Thursday issued a notice extending the deadline to 24 June. This was done on requests from various entities, including business lobby groups.
Under the six-year scheme, companies are entitled to sales-based incentives and are even eligible for grants for undertaking branding and marketing activities abroad. Interested companies will need to commit to minimum investments and achieve minimum CAGR in sales to avail incentives.
“We are submitting an expression of interest to the Ministry of Food Processing Industries with respect to the PLI scheme," Mayank Jalan, CMD, Keventer Agro Ltd said. The Kolkata-based company sells pouch milk, curd, value-added dairy products apart from ready-to-cook foods and frozen snacks among others. Jala did not specify the category for which the company will avail the scheme.
Parag Milk Foods that sells dairy products under Gowardhan, Go, Topp Up and Pride of Cows brands said it has submitted a proposal to avail incentives under PLI Scheme to expand manufacturing of its mozzarella cheese category.
“The PLI scheme would be applicable on further capacity expansion already done by us as well as planned in the mozzarella cheese facility at Manchar, in Maharashtra," said Devendra Shah, chairman, Parag Milk Foods Ltd.
Demand for mozzarella cheese in India is emerging from the food services industry. Moreover, a spike in in-home cooking has led to an uptick in value-added dairy products, said Shah. The company has already invested in a mozarella line, which it is set to expand.
The scheme covers ready-to-cook products such as potato fries, tikki, table sauces, pasta sauces, cooking sauces, salad dressings, dips, fruit-based jams and jellies, packaged mixed spices among other food products. Within the fruits and vegetable category, the scheme covers manufacturing of steamed, boiled, frozen, dried produce. Several other food products are included under the scheme.
E-mails sent to ITC Ltd, and Britannia Industries Ltd did not elicit a response.
Homegrown Mother Dairy that sells frozen vegetables and snacks under the Safal brand too said it was internally evaluating the PLI scheme.
The company plans to expand its frozen snacks range as demand for such foods grew during the extended lockdown periods. Mother Dairy aims to expand its range of frozen products as it is already big in peas and corns. "We are still in the discussion stage. We have evinced our interest, but we have not yet finalized the project. So, I would say, wait and watch for the time being…we are internally evaluating," Manish Bandlish, managing director, Mother Dairy Fruit and Vegetable Pvt. Ltd told Mint in an earlier interview.
The government said the scheme will create jobs for 250,000 people and attract investments from global and domestic companies in the food processing sector. It will also help expand the food processing capacity to generate processed food output worth j33,494 crore by 2026-27.