The Digital Indo-Italian Business Mission on Food Processing saw a series of digital conferences, trade fairs, B2B meetings, and webinars, with participants from senior government officials from India and Italy, as well as more than 600 companies from both countries.
Key sessions and webinars stressed food processing technologies that were dedicated to milk and milk products as well as other sectors.
Given the growth potential in the Indian food processing sector, organizers said the event helped Indian firms understand and take cues from Italian companies at a time when the demand for packaged food products is set to jump amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Italy is the leading manufacturer and exporter of food packaging and processing equipment. In 2016, the country produced more than $8.5bn worth of packaging machinery and $7.5bn worth of food processing technology and exported more than 70% of both to other countries. In 2019, Italy exported $54.9m worth of packaging machines to India.
India's Minister for Food Processing Industries, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, highlighted the huge partnership opportunities for both the nations.
"India is promoting food processing in a big way by offering an incentive of $1bn, with hope of leveraging another investment of $5bn. We invite Italy to invest in us and our 42 mega food parks. You can come and just plug and play," she said, adding the country has opened up to the importance of ready-to-eat and frozen food due to the current situation.
Speakers emphasized strengthening economic ties between the two countries, boosting partnerships in the food sectors, the Indian government's efforts in making investments in India easier and re-establishing it as the fastest-growing economy in the world.
The event also explored opportunities for promoting innovation and collaboration in food processing technologies between India and Italy that help reduce waste and other areas including infrastructure, cold chain, processing infrastructure, and R&D for innovative methods of processing and packaging.
In total more than 70,000 people attended the live streaming of the main session on the social media channels.