Agriculture FAQs

Agriculture Related Business Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

India is an emerging market for imported food products. Few retailers import directly and we recommend that you identify a reliable importer with an established distribution network in India. Tariffs are high and a number of U.S. products do not have market access. For background information, we would direct you to our annual Exporter Guide 2017. (PDF)

Our report ‘India Retail Foods 2018’ (PDF) dives into the country’s growing market for consumer-ready food products and provides information related to consumer demographics and preferences, best prospects, and even the emerging online marketplace for online grocery items.  Organized retail continues consolidation with larger players expanding through acquisition. Domestic and international retailers are building stronger cash and carry wholesale businesses. India’s e-commerce grocery business growth is driven by robust investment complemented by technological advancement. These factors, coupled together, suggest increased demand for imported products and more opportunity to slot higher-value products on store shelves or e-retail platforms in the long run.

Our report, ;’India Food Service – Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional 2018’, (PDF) explores the potential openings in the food service sector.  The growth of household-income fueled by the rise of dual-income households is making family vacations and dining our more accessible.  With the recent depreciation of the Indian Rupee, the hotel and restaurant players across India see an opportune people whoch cild attract more foreign tourists, and increase spending within the sector.  However, the weakened Indian rupee also poses a significant challenge as it raises the price for imported ingredients, foods, and beverages slated for use in the hotel and restaurant sector.

Our report, ‘India Food Processing Ingredients 2018’ (PDF) explores and analyzes this developing sector.  India’s food processing sector continues to grow in response to changing demographics, evolving preferences for branded and convenient items, retail and food service sector modernization, and government efforts to develop food manufacturing. Increasing health consciousness is influencing the development and sales growth of packaged foods. Imports of non-standardized processed foods and ingredients remain a challenge, though regulatory reforms are supporting progress.

Bt cotton remains India’s only biotech crop approved for commercial cultivation though scientists are exploring numerous events in the laboratory.  Soy and canola oils derived from select biotech events are the only biotechnology food-derived products approved for import.  For more information refer to India Agricultural Biotechnology Annual Report 2018.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) deals with the phytosanitary issues related to fruits and vegetables. For product related information kindly visit this page. You may also read our most recent ‘Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards – Narrative Country Report’ to get a better understanding of the rules and regulations applicable in India.

With an exception of U.S. poultry and poultry products imports of most U.S. animal and livestock-derived food products are effectively banned due to established Indian import requirements. This includes certain sub-categories in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule under Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 16 and 21 (e.g., milk and dairy products, certain seafood, sheep and goat products, as well as pork products and pet food). Furthermore, imports of beef are banned due to religious concerns. Refer to Exporter Guide 2017. (PDF)

On August 5, 2011, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) formally implemented its Food Safety and Standards Rules, 2011 as published in the Indian Official Gazette Notification No. G.S.R. 362 (E). The Food Safety and Standards Rules, 2011 contain the provisions for establishing enforcement mechanisms, sampling techniques, and other legal aspects instituted under Section 91 of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006. The full text of the final Food Safety and Standard Rules, 2011, as well as the later amendments can be accessed on the FSSAI website.

For more information on food laws related to food products imported into India please refer to Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards – Narrative Country Report.

Three GOI authorities regulate labeling of food and agricultural products. They are the FSSAI (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare), the Office of Legal Metrology (Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution), and the Department of Commerce (Ministry of Commerce and Industry). Exporters are encouraged to read Chapter 2 of the FSS Packaging and Labeling Regulation, 2011, before designing labels for products destined for India. Packaging and labeling regulations for packaged and bulk items are revised frequently and exporters should work with their importers to understand applicable regulations and potential changes to the regulations.  Of particular relevance is Section II and Section III of the Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards – Narrative Country Report. (PDF)