FICCI organized, the first ever Foodzania, a Food Service Retail Conclave on November 18,2016 at FICCI, Federation House, New Delhi. Invited by Vickrham, owner of Foodmaniacs a food based portal, which happened to be the Online Partner for the event, we felt privileged to be a part of such a prestigious event.
The whole day conclave started with a nice spread of Tea, Coffee and Breakfast for the participants. The Conclave was divided into six sessions each touching a particular aspect of the Food Retail Industry. The first session touched upon the State of the Industry & Food Policy. After the welcome address by Piyush Patodia, Chairman FICCI Task Force, the session was addressed by Sh.Hem Pande, Secretary, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food n Public Distribution, (MoCA). He touched briefly on the state of Food Industry and emphasized on the need for the Industry and the Government to work closely for the benefit of the Consumer.
The session was also addressed by Shri Pawan Aggarwal, CEO, FSSAI, who strongly believed that more n more of eateries of all tiers be recognized by FSSAI so as to be able to educate and monitor even the smaller players there by ensuring safe n hygienic food to reach the consumers.
The session saw a wide range of speakers like Mr Scott S.Sindelar, Minister Counselor for Agricultural Affairs, American Embassy in New Delhi, India. Mr Sunil Kapur, Chairman,K-Hospitality Corp, Mr Rahul Singh, Hon.Secretary, NRAI, Founder & CEO, The Beer Cafe, Mr Henrik Osterstrom, Country Food Manger, IKEA and Mr Amit Lohani, MD, Max Foods and Conveyor, Forum of Indian Food Importers. Each one them spoke about the on growing demand for the Industry to be given its due recognition by the Government to ensure further organized growth in this sector.
Session 2 saw the discussion moving to another very important aspect of the Food Retail Service Industry, the availability of skilled manpower. Rightly titled Skill Development Gaining Critical Importance in F&B Sector-“Elevating Skills”. The session was addressed by Mr. Praveen Roy, Chief Executive Officer, Tourism and Hospitality Skill Council, Mr Chetan Arora, Development Agent and Multi Unit Owner, Subway India, Chef Y B Mathur, Executive Director, Culinary Design & Application Group and Ms Diksha Pandey, Head, Mountain Trail Academy. They emphasized on the need for more training centers for the F& B sector and especially in two or three tier towns n cities to facilitate the young there to pursue their dreams of joining the Food Industry.
Session 3 namely Creating one stop shop-“Making Food in India & Ease of doing Business” was addressed by Mr Atul Chaturvedi, Joint Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy n Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Mr Rajat Wahi, Partner and Head, Consumer Retail and Agri Sectors, KPMG in India, Mr Sumitro Ghosh, Managing Director and CEO, Tata Starbucks India, Mr Unnat Verma, MD Pizza Hut India Subcontinent, Mr Pankaj Chaddah, Co founder, Zomato, Mr Murli Parna, CEO, Sagar Ratna, Chef Sabyasachi Gorai, Celebrity Chef, Entrepreneur, Restaurant Owner and Mr Rakesh Banga, Founder, Farmland Premium Foods LLP. Lots of grievances on part of the Industry were put forward, the main being the License Raj, which surprisingly continues to harass the industry. Multiple government departments issue licenses for the same project often over lapping each other. It was really sad to know that to even start a Restaurant in our Country it needs anywhere between 20 to 30 licenses which may take over a period of six months to a year to acquire.
Another session to follow was Disrupting Food Pallet which was addressed by Mr Rajesh Sawhney, Founder, Inner Chef. Mr Nandan Reddy, Co founder, Swiggy, Mr Saurabh Kochhar, CEO, Food Panda, Mr Raghav Verma, Co -founder, Sunshine Teahouse Pvt. Ltd (Chaayos), Mr Ankur Gupta, Co founder, Drifter’s Cafe, And Mr Vikrant Mishra, Co founder, Eggjactly & Sushi House Mafia. The emphasis here was on the emergence of increasing online business in Food Retail and some innovative offline business models like Food Trucks, Food Aggregators and out of the box OSR models. These business ideas are in for a quantum leap in the coming years and do seem to be the disruptive force to regular Food Retail.
The session Extraordinary journey of Extraordinary Chefs saw Ms Kavneet Sawhney, Director Culinary Communications, Founder of The Gourmet High Street talk us through with Ms. Nita Mehta, Celeberity Chef, Author and now a Restaurant Owner. She traced her journey from Ms. Nita Mehta being a housewife to now a Celebrity on her own. Ms. Mehta shared her personal experiences, her trials and tribulations along her journey. A real role model for any budding entrepreneur.
I also got a chance to get clicked with the legendary Ms Nita Mehta and she came across as a very warm person. She also shared a beautiful message for all aspiring chefs.
The last session “Going Beyond Borders” With Celebrity Chefs Ranveer Brar and Vicky Ratnani was a really enjoyable one with their most candid comments. Everyone at the event was waiting for this finale of the conclave and looking forward to their interaction with these both celebrity chefs. Ranveer as usual had his answers ready for everything with a heavy dose of wit in them, while Vicky was at his intellectual best. I also got a chance to get clicked with my favourite chefs.
All in all a wonderful Conclave. Kudos to FICCI for organizing it and bringing forth the problems of this ever-expanding industry to the fore. The Conclave also had lunch catered by The Embassy, New Delhi.
Cocktails and Dinner was followed at the end of the conclave. I am really grateful to Vickrham and Foodmaniacs for making me a part of this amazing journey of learning about the food industry and a chance to rub shoulders with who is who of the food world.