FSSAI launches food innovators network: fine-tuning India’s food start-up ecosystem
India has developed a vibrant entrepreneurial landscape and steadfastly strengthened its position as the third largest start-up ecosystem globally.
The Indian food sector has emerged as high-growth and high-profit domain due to its immense potential for value addition, particularly within the food processing industry. To support the realisation of this massive potential through government policy and regulatory assistance, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has launched the ‘Food Innovators Network’ programme.
In conjunction with the Government’s initiative on ‘Start-Up India’ and ‘Digital India’, FSSAI through FINE aims to bring together innovators and start-up entrepreneurs to provide innovative solutions and transform the country’s food safety and nutrition landscape. FSSAI through the medium of FINE will engage with entrepreneurs working to address challenges in areas such as affordable and accessible food testing, ensuring availability of healthy food, educating consumers towards nutritious choices and reducing food waste. It will mentor these start-ups to effectively provide innovative new age solutions to tackle these challenges through the best of innovation, technologies and business models. Start-ups working in the said areas can apply to be a part of the FINE network by visiting the microsite created at www.fssai.gov.in/fine. The deadline to apply is 15th October 2018.
As a part of FINE, to support budding entrepreneurs, the regulator is setting up an FSSAI Buddy System wherein every start-up in the network will be assigned a buddy from the regulatory body. The buddies will aid the start-ups to navigate their way through the regulatory space and thus enable ease of doing business.
The event also saw the launch of a first of its kind, FoSTaC Plus Course, a spin-off of the Food Safety Trainingand Certification (FoSTaC) programme by FSSAI. The course titled “Go to Guide for Food Start-ups”, serves as a regulatory walkthrough for start-ups in this sector. It details the procedures related to licensing and registration, labelling and packaging, safety, health and sanitary requirements as well as other statutory and regulatory compliances as per the FSS Act.
FINE was launched by FSSAI during the TiE Delhi NCR Food & Food Services Summit 2018. Speaking about the journey of the apex food body over the years, Ms Madhavi Das, CMSO, FSSAI emphasised the regulator's philosophy of “Trust but Verify”. She said that the regulator has come a long way from being a mere enforcer of food laws to enabling food businesses to comply with regulations. Making them responsive would not only improve their business practices but also improve the entire food ecosystem. She further added that as the Indian food industry is poised for huge growth by increasing its contribution to world food trade every year, it is important to understand the dynamics around the start-up ecosystem as they are here to stay.
At the launch of the Food Innovators Network, FSSAI also announced the “Eat Right Food Innovation Awards” which would be presented to selected start-ups transforming the food and nutrition landscape of the country in December this year. The FINE initiative by FSSAI is a reaffirmation that a robust regulatory environment can enable a favourable macroeconomic environment to nurture the growth and development of food-based start-ups and hence the overall economy of the country.