‘World Food India 2023’, the 3-day event, took place from November 3 to 5 at Bharat Mandapam of Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, welcomed food producers, nutraceutical industries, processed food companies, renowned chefs, and food enthusiasts from across the globe to experience the rich diversity of Indian cuisine.
During the inaugural session, it was underscored that India has emerged as the world's foremost producer of milk, spices, and pulses. Notably, the food processing sector has demonstrated a robust expansion of 7.26 percent over the past two years. Equally noteworthy is the transformation of processed food exports, now accounting for 25.63 percent of agricultural exports, a substantial leap from the 13.7 percent recorded in 2013-14. Furthermore, the gross value addition of the food processing sector has surged from ₹1.34 lakh crores in 2014-15 to ₹2.08 lakh crores in 2021-22.
Over the past nine years, the government's unwavering support has empowered more than 56,000 food processing enterprises through various schemes and initiatives, while providing seed capital to over 1.25 lakh self-help groups. Government projects and initiatives have yielded immense benefits, impacting approximately 32 lakh farmers and generating around 9.75 lakh direct and indirect employment opportunities.
A key focus of the event was the revival and promotion of ancient Indian food items and practices, which offer economically viable and health-conscious products. These traditional food items hold substantial value in terms of production, consumption, and export potential. Government of India via World Food India provides a golden opportunity to promote, export, and revive these Indian foods and food practices.
Millets, also known as Shree Anna, are venerable super grains deeply ingrained in the Indian diet for centuries. These remarkable superfoods not only bear the distinction of being gluten-free but are also densely packed with vital nutrients. They are celebrated for their adaptability to diverse environmental conditions and their eco-friendly nature. Millets, in their various forms, hold the promise of fortifying food security, enhancing nutrition, and contributing to sustainability amid the global challenges we face. India's Millets initiative is set to raise awareness about this remarkable food, laying the foundation for millets to emerge as a popular and healthy dietary option worldwide.
The year 2023 has been officially designated as the International Year of Millets, marking a significant step towards embracing this authentic and nutritious Indian superfood. World Food India 2023 serves as a platform to showcase the versatility of millets, featuring a wide array of culinary creations, including various cuisines, snacks, and desserts incorporating these grains. An exemplary display of millet-based food items marks the food street organized by the Ministry of AYUSH. Dr.Rutika from the National Institute of Naturopathy presented delicacies such as Ragiladdu, Halim Nachos, and Ragi Pops, all rich in essential nutrients like Vitamin E, Lecithin, methionine, Magnesium, and Iron that contribute to our overall health. Hindustan Level United also offered a comprehensive 'Millet India Platter' featuring various types of Shree Anna. This unique spread included delectable dishes like JawarChaat, Millet Thalipeeth, Millet MethiThepla, and Millet BanarasiPaan, showcasing the diverse culinary potential of these grains.
Production and promotion of these millet-based food items herald a significant return to our roots. World Food India 2023, with its enticing showcase of millet-based dishes, exemplifies the remarkable journey of these ancient grains into modern culinary delights. As we savor these nutritious and eco-friendly treasures, we embark on a path toward greater well-being, sustainability, and an appreciation for the rich culinary heritage that India has to offer.
India boasts of a profoundly rich food culture, where the act of eating is a holistic experience that encompasses both physical and emotional dimensions. Nostalgia often resurfaces with a familiar taste, connecting individuals to cherished memories. However, as awareness about conscious dietary choices grows, there's a tendency for people to gravitate toward Western food items. The World Food India initiative sought to dispel this notion by presenting a diverse array of traditional, authentic, and healthful Indian dishes that can leave a huge impact on food choices around the world. One can connect with authentic and traditional Indian cuisine without compromising on health.
At World Food India, numerous traditional, nutritious food items were featured, bridging the divide between health-conscious and delectable cuisine. For instance, Baswant Garden unveiled organic honey and raisins for a wholesome snack option. Kari-Kari, a women-led Indian company, harnessed age-old Indian ingredients like Curry leaves and Urad dal to create non-fried rice crisps, offering a nutritious snack alternative.
Fikana, a company hailing from Andhra Pradesh, battled against ghee adulteration and utilized pure ghee and other ingredients to craft a unique dessert. Sashimi Foods, another Indian enterprise, incorporated protein-rich Indian seafood to create a balanced diet that is enriched with essential nutrients. Additionally, the Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine demonstrated the use of IlajbilGhiza (Dietotherapy) to produce nutrient-dense foods. Dietotherapy emphasizes the convergence of food and medicine by providing diets abundant in essential nutrients that enhance immunity and ward off diseases.
In essence, World Food India celebrated and reintroduced these forgotten culinary treasures, highlighting the intersection of health and taste in the realm of Indian cuisine.