Commodity Innovation Series - Snapshot of Opportunities in India's Pulse Sector

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Commodity-based information and opportunities for Canadian agri-food businesses in international markets.

Quick facts (2015)

India is the largest consumer and importer of pulses in the world

  • Pulses are a primary source of protein and are widely used in daily cooking
  • Pulse ingredients (pea protein and pea starch) are increasingly used in packaged foods
  • There is a heavy reliance on pulse imports due to insufficient domestic supply
  • Population growth, growing urbanisation, and busier lives are increasing preference for easy-to-prepare nutritional products that supply protein & carbohydrates.

Canada is the number one supplier of pulses in India

  • Canada accounted for 38% market share of India's pulse imports, worth US$1.4 billion
  • India's import from Canada had an average annual growth of 20% from 2010 to 2015

Source: Global Trade Tracker

Pulses in Bulk

Sales are expected to grow by a rate of 4% from 2015 to 2020

  • Dried peas, lentils and other pulses are expected to perform the strongest with volume sales forecasted to grow at an average rate of 4%.

Total volume sales

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Year - 000' tonnes

  • 2010 - 20,905.90
  • 2012 - 24,122.60
  • 2014 - 27,504.50
  • 2016 - 29,768.20
  • 2018 - 32,030.60
  • 2020 - 34,355.50

Source: Euromonitor

Total volume sales grew by 4% in 2015

  • Pulses were widely sold unpackaged
  • Traditional retailers accounted for 77% of the total volume sales, while foodservices accounted for 23%.
  • Sales volume increased by 28.6 million tonnes from 2010 to 2015.

In 2015 Canada accounted for 9% of India's total volume sales

  • India imported 2.5 million tonnes of pulses from Canada

Source: Global Trade Tracker

Pulses as an ingredient (2010-2015)

India accounted for 30% of the world's pulse product launches

  • India launched nearly 2,000 products using pulses as an ingredient.
  • Top product launch categories were baked goods, snacks & desserts, sauces & seasoning.
  • Major companies in India launched pulse products in 10 different product categories

India's top agri-food companies and their leading pulse product brands

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Company (brand) - Number of products launched

  • MTR Foods (MRT Daily Favourites) - 35
  • Haldiram Foods International (Haldiram's Nagpur) - 30
  • Gits Food Products (Gits) - 28
  • Maiyas Beverages and Foods (Maiyas) - 28
  • Haldiram Bhujiawala (Haldiram's Pgabhuji) - 22

Source: Mintel

MRT Foods launched the most pulse products under its MRT Daily Favourites brand.

Health and wellness are growing claims for new products containing pulses

Top claims:

  1. Vegetarian
  2. Low/No/Reduced Cholesterol
  3. Premium
  4. No Additives/Preservatives
  5. Low/No/Reduced Transfat

Top growing claims:

  1. Low/No/Reduced Fat
  2. Convenient Packaging
  3. Low/No/Reduced Calorie
  4. Premium
  5. Ethical - Charity

Declining claims:

  1. Vegan
  2. No Animal Ingredients
  3. Low/No/Reduced Lactose
  4. High/Added Fiber
  5. Economy

Flexible packages are the leading packaging type for products containing pulses as an ingredient

Top packaging types:

  1. Flexible
  2. Flexible sachet
  3. Flexible stand-up pouch

Top packaging materials:

  1. Plastic unspecified
  2. Metallised Film
  3. Multi laminate

Top packaging combinations:

  1. Flexible, Plastic unspecified
  2. Flexible, Metallised Film
  3. Flexible sachet, Plastic unspecified

Source: Mintel

India is rated excellent in innovative pulse products

  • India is a world leader for pulse innovation in new product launches, re-launches, and in product line diversity.

Top innovative pulse markets

Product innovation ranking: Description of this image follows.
Top innovative pulse markets - Product innovation ranking
Innovation Criteria India United States United Kingdom Germany Canada Australia France Spain Italy Ireland
Relaunch 5 6 5 3 5 2 6 4 4 2
New product 16 15 16 18 16 19 15 17 17 19
Product line diversity 12 11 9 9 9 6 7 6 5 5
Health & wellness claims 19 19 17 14 14 17 14 15 13 13
Source: Mintel
Rating scale: Excellent (20-17), Very good (16-13), Good (12-9), Fair (8-5), Low (4-0)

Factors for consideration

  • Mature pulse trade between Canada & India
  • Established relationships & numerous players exist
  • Bulk trade is the norm
  • Food safety regulations
  • High difficulty for new entrants in the raw pulse trade
  • High retail margins & listing fees for direct retail products
  • Price volatility is high leading to risks in trade

Recommendations for entry

  • Understand the market and culture
  • Understand the industry and players
  • Participate in Trade Shows
  • Find an import partner

How can we help

We offer multiple programs and services to help you achieve your international business goals, such as the Agri-Food Trade Service, AgriMarketing Program, and Canada Brand.

International Trade Commissioners are also an excellent point of contact for export advice and can provide Canadian industry with on-the-ground expertise regarding market potential, current conditions, and local business contacts.

Have we piqued your interest?

For more information on opportunities in India or to join our distribution list, make suggestions, or request a report, contact the single window at

Find out about our programs, services and tools to support your exporting efforts. Exporting from Canada

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