Q.1 Sir, first of all, could you please tell our readers about pineapple and the scope of pineapple processing in the emerging food market?

Pineapple is a tropical fruit; its scientific name is Ananas comosus. This fruit is cultivated in some parts of West Bengal & North-East, Hubli in Karnataka, and the North part of Kerala in India. Besides India, pineapple is grown in different parts of the world like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, China, South America, etc. Two varieties, King and Queen are grown in India. It has a sour-to-sweet taste, is fibrous and juicy, and has a good flavour. It has good amount of minerals and vitamins.

Commonly in the domestic market, the juice is extracted from ripe fruits for direct consumption, whereas the fruit is eaten fresh. As the fruit is difficult to cut and eat, it is mostly eaten in processed form. The Food industry uses it only in processed form and is growing rapidly. With the growing culture of baking and exotic cuisines in India, there is a huge potential for processing and selling pineapple products.

Q.2 Where do you see India on a global level in terms of the pineapple processing industry compared to other countries across the world?

Indian pineapple processing industry is far behind on a global level. In India, less than 15% of fruits are processed against over 90% of fruits processed globally. Besides this fruit, quality is yet to improve to the level of global requirement in terms of quality and cost as well. The current yields from the fruits currently grown in India are between 24-30% which is far lower than the other countries.

Q.3 What are the potential opportunities and technologies available in processing pineapple products for micro-enterprises?

There are huge potential opportunities in pineapple processing for micro-enterprises as mostly this fruit is consumed after processing only. Secondly, the demand for processed pineapple products is increasing indigenously, and accordingly, fruit production is increasing. Pineapple processing is quite simple and does not require huge investments. Hence, it is easy to adopt for micro-enterprises. Though there is a good level of skill required but the processing is simple and requires no prior technical knowledge.

Consumption of pineapple processed products is growing at a rapid pace. Consumers are getting more demanding in terms of quality and costs

However, the processed food industry that uses pineapple as an input needs products of international level, which is throwing a unique challenge to processors.

Q.4 According to you, what are the pineapple-based processed products that micro-enterprises can produce?

Canned pineapple, bottled pineapple juices, jams, etc. are suitable products for micro-enterprises. Moreover, pineapple candies, pineapple-based dry snacks, as well as pickles and chutneys could be a very unique Indian product line that can be explored. India has a very rich use of pineapple in its cuisine, and micro-enterprises can take inspiration from the Indian cuisine to introduce a lot of innovations and value additions that can give them a unique advantage.

Q.5 Could you elaborate on the safety and quality standards that micro-enterprises can follow in canned pineapple processing?

For safe food, everyone must maintain cleanliness and hygiene at the place while processing. Good quality pineapple and other raw materials should be used. The final products should be packed as per FSSAI standards.

This is one area where Indian micro industries score low and need extensive training and knowledge sharing. This is also very critical for ensuring quality and universal acceptance of products.

Q.6 According to you, how PMFME Scheme would be able to support micro food processing enterprises engaged in pineapple processing?

For micro-entrepreneurs, access to capital is quite difficult. The Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme provides good financial as well as technical support to help micro-entrepreneurs start their food processing units or upgrade their existing enterprises.

Also, the concept of cooperatives can be brought into pineapple processing for selling to big enterprises, who in turn market and sell under their Brand names which could be a win-win situation for everyone.

Many micro-entrepreneurs can start their business in pineapple processing under the One District One Product (ODOP) component of the PMFME Scheme independently and market their product under one brand (by Cooperation with each other). This will help them in reducing the transportation and marketing cost of their products to become competitive in the market. They can also benefit by getting subsidies and other benefits from PMFME Scheme.

(Content shared by Sh. C. Venugopal, President, Allahabad Canning Ltd.)

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the above guest and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries.