Food & Beverages


India happens to be one of the biggest food and beverages market in the world. A large quantity of domestically produced food in both raw and finished form is exported out of India as well. The market for niche food products, such as nutraceuticals and organific food, has recorded better growth as compared to other food products.

Most Important laws

  • The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 lays down the standards applicable to food and beverages sold in India.
  • The Infant Milk Substitutes Act, 1992 regulates advertisement of the infant milk substitutes in a manner that promotes breast milk.
  • The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodity) Rules, 2011 prescribe numerous labelling requirements, including declaration of customer care number, on the package.
  • The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 / the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 regulates unfair trade practices and restrictive trade practices, and imposes product liability for manufacturing defects in product that cause harm.
  • The Trade Marks Act, 1999 provides trade mark protection, in addition to common law protection for passing-off that exists India.
  • The Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising published by The Advertising Standards Council of India provides detailed guidance on advertisement of food.

Key things to remember

  • Everyone who deals in food in India, even a street hawker, requires some sort of license or registration to do so.
  • Any packaged food falls into three categories – standard food (i.e. whose standards have been specified), non-specified food and prohibited food. No specific product permission is required to sell standard food. A specific product permission is required to sell non-specified food. Prohibited food cannot be sold in India.
  • Advertisement of packaged food is heavily regulated in India, including use of celebrities to endorse food products.
  • The claims made on the product packages are heavily regulated as well.
  • Genetically modified food cannot be sold in India yet.
  • Nutraceuticals are regulated as food.

Important sub-segments and related industries

  • Packaged Food
  • Packaged Beverages
  • Alcohols & Spirits
  • Health Supplements
  • Nutraceuticals
  • Genetically Modified Food
  • Organic Food

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