In the last few decades, the seafood and fisheries industry in India has grown exponentially. In fact, in the year 2019, India ranked second among other fisheries producers, next to China. With the growing internal demand for seafood, the industry has not only seen a growth in production but in revenue as well.
What is the current seafood consumption in India?
Statistically speaking, consumption of any food commodity is calculated as the amount that is available for consumption by people, as mentioned in the balance sheets of the Food and Agricultural Organization. In case of seafood and fish, per capita consumption has steadily increased over the years at the rate of almost 8.37% per year, on an average. There are several contributing factors for this, such as:
- Increased awareness of the health benefits of seafood: There has been a drastic change in the health and lifestyle sector over the last couple of years. People have become more health conscious, paying close attention to what they eat. During this transition, fish has emerged as one of the most beneficial sources of proteins and other nutrients. Today, fish is perceived as a lean protein source, with a higher level of proteins that are easy to digest. In addition to this, it also contains a high concentration of healthy fats. Fish is also known to reduce cholesterol levels. This perception of fish as a health food has not only increased the current consumption but is likely to contribute to a steady increase in consumption over the next few years.
- Easier availability of fish: Fish is easily available because of a more organized retail sector. Besides fresh fish that is sold in traditional markets, customers also have the option of choosing from frozen or canned fish products. This has created a very positive impact on the fisheries and seafood market overall.
- Increased affordability: There is more disposable income available today among the consumers. In addition to this, the disparity in the price of meat and fish is also not as high as before. Added to that, fish is also the healthier alternative. Needless to say, consumption and demand has also increased.
- Higher production: Fish and seafood is a staple food choice in the coastal areas. Today, you also have a higher demand in other parts of the country, particularly in the urban sectors. India’s emergence as one of the leading fish exporters in the world has increased the surplus available for local consumption.
Fish and Seafood Industry In India Today
In the year 2019, the Indian Fish Market was valued at INR 1,224.3 billion, By the year 2025, it is estimated that this industry will grow to INR 2180 billion. Today, India is the counted among the largest fish producers in the world, contributing to 6% of worldwide fish production. It is a highly segmented and organized industry today. There are various segments based on:
- The type of fish, namely marine fish, inland fish, scampi and shrimp.
- The type of production, namely fresh fish, canned fish and frozen fish.
- The end user, namely institutional and retail sectors.
- The channel of distribution, namely unorganized and organized sectors
- The various states.
In each of the segments, there has been a steady growth rate over the years due to higher demand and better export.
This growth has been backed by various developmental schemes initiated by the Indian government. This includes better infrastructure such as landing centers and harbours, fish seed mills and farms, better cold chain facilities and storage facilities.
These government schemes are aimed at not only improving the fisheries sector but also the productivity of the sector by enhancing welfare activities for farmers. Today, the seafood and fisheries sector contributes to 1% of the Indian GDP. It contributes to more than 5% of the agricultural GDP as well. As for the international market, India is not only a leading fish producer but is also one of the key exporters of frozen seafood and fish products.
In the coming years, India will continue to hold its strong position in the fisheries and seafood industry. Increased awareness and better lifestyle choices are likely to keep the consumption growing at higher rates annually.