Asia’s Balance Sheet of Food Facts

In his closing speech at this year’s Global Food Safety Conference, Pradeep Pant highlighted that Asia is poised to become the global leader in the food industry. He reflected that the actions taken by industry leaders in Asia will determine the course of the food industry worldwide. “Asia is moving fast, and the food industry remains a crucial component in its economic growth”, Pant said, presenting a ‘Balance Sheet’ of Asia food facts.

Asia is the fastest growing region in the world:

  • By 2030, two thirds of the global middle class will live in the Asia Pacific region, up from one third in 20091.
  • Private consumption will become the driving force of growth in Asia over the next 5 to 10 years. Forecasts show that by the turn of this decade, more than 30% of global private consumption will be here. We are talking about tens of trillions of dollars whichever estimates we look at 2.
  • And we, the food industry, will be right at the centre of this exciting, explosive growth. The events of our industry will touch each and every one of these consumers in some way.

The prospects for the food industry in Asia are truly exciting:

  • The retail market value of all food and beverage products – packaged and unpackaged – is estimated to be $2 trillion with more than a quarter of this being packaged 3.
  • In 2018, the Asia-Pacific food retail industry is forecast to have a value of $2.6 trillion, an increase of 37.3% since 2013 3.
  • The global and regional manufacturers understand this well - as is reflected in the huge investments being made by them in manufacturing, distribution, R&D, innovation and supply chain management.

But all the news is not good. The challenges of Food Safety and Security, of Malnutrition and Obesity cast a dark shadow on our industry:

  • Food wastage is shocking. An estimated 414 calories per person is wasted per day in South and South East Asia due to food wastage arising from poor supply chain infrastructure 4.
  • 87% of this waste occurs in Production, Storage and Transport 4.
  • 45% of child deaths are attributed to malnutrition 5.
  • 300 million Chinese people are affected annually by food borne diseases 6.
  • In India 40% of food items tested by government labs in 2013/14 were adulterated or misbranded 7.
  • An estimated 2 billion people globally as overweight or obese 8.
  • NCD related deaths are running into millions 9.
  • Food fraud costs the industry $30-40 billion 10.

What are we doing about it?

According to Pant, “Food is one of the best gifts we have as human beings. Suspicion and mistrust have no place in something as wholesome, nourishing and enjoyable as food. I believe it is time to put food back in its significant place. It is a complex and arduous challenge. But it is a challenge that can be won through passion and drive". Here are some of the ways that FIA is working with the food industry to rebuild a culture of shared responsibility:

  1. START LOCAL: Food is a local thing. Tastes, beliefs, diets – all things that go towards making ‘food culture’ are local. So starting a cultural change of collaboration, partnership has got to start at the local level and go up.
  2. COMMON PURPOSE: Before embarking on any initiatives, let us make sure that we have a common purpose and shared vision.
  3. SHARED RESPONSIBILITY: Once we have a defined common purpose, it is critical that we identify joint initiatives across the technical and cultural dimensions and deploy resources – not only money but time and energy – behind them.
  4. PERSONAL LEADERSHIP & ACTION: Cultural Change needs personal leadership. Cultural change does not happen by waiting for someone else to take the lead. Each one of us has to actively engage and invest, be it at the technical level, the political level or the educational level. 

For more information about FIA Membership, please visit our website here

About Pradeep Pant

 Pradeep is a highly experienced senior business leader, now involved in business consulting and education. With over 37 years of experience in the FMCG industry, Pradeep is an expert in building businesses in both mature and emerging markets. He has managed a wide range of iconic brands across some of the world’s fastest-growing and complex emerging markets including China, India, Russia, Turkey, Middle East and ASEAN as well as developed markets like ANZ, Japan, Korea. He has a deep understanding of market dynamics and cultural diversity. He has a proven track record and passion for turning organisations around.

Pradeep was Executive Vice President and President of Asia Pacific (AP) and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (EEMEA) for Mondelēz International till end 2013. Launched on October 1, 2012, Mondelēz International consists of the global snacking and food brands of the former Kraft Foods Inc. Pradeep has served as President, Asia Pacific, since 2008 and he assumed his responsibility for the EEMEA region in 2012.

Previously, Pradeep was Regional Managing Director for Asia, Africa, and the Middle East for Fonterra Brands. He was a member of the Fonterra leadership team as well as the company’s global brands marketing group. Prior to Fonterra, he spent 19 years with The Gillette Company working in India, Russia, Turkey and Asia Pacific. Pradeep has also worked with Nestlé, J Walter Thompson and the Tata group.

Pradeep holds a Master of Management Studies degree from the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Bombay University, and a BA with Honors degree in Economics from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University. Pradeep is also the Founding President of Food Industry Asia (FIA), an Advisory Board Member of SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business and a Senior Advisor to Hay.


1. Hitting the Sweet Spot - The Growth of Middle Class in Emerging Markets, Ernst & Young, 2013
2. China Food & Drink Report, Business Monitor – Q4/2014
3. MarketLine Industry Profile: Food Retail in Asia-Pacific; June 2014
4. World Bank, Infographic: Food Loss and Waste, February 2014
5. Children: Reducing Mortality, World Health Organization, 2014
6. Asian Development Bank (ADB) Report 2007
7. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, FSSAI
8. Obesity & Overweight, World Health Organization, 2015
9. Non-communicable Diseases, World Health Organization, 2015
10. John Spink, Michigan State University, 2014

FIA issues regular e-bulletins with analysis on relevant food and beverage industry issues across the region. To subscribe to this service, please click here