Atta is the Hindi or Urdu word for dough; it is used by metonymy to mean “flour used for baking”. Atta refers to the pulverized whole wheat with brownish white colour. In India and Pakistan, a common term used for atta is “chakki atta” which is mostly used in rural areas. Chakki atta is ground wheat without any additions or subtractions, and is thus in more natural form.
Atta is the flour used to make most South Asian flatbreads, such as chapati, roti, naan and puri. Most atta is milled from the semi-hard wheat varieties, also known as durum wheat, that comprise 90% of the Indian wheat crop, and is more precisely called durum atta.
Hard wheats have a high content of gluten (a protein composite that gives elasticity), so doughs made out of atta flour are strong and can be rolled out very thin. Indian wheat is mostly Durum wheat, which are high in protein but less in “bread forming gluten” so the bread when baked with this flour does not rise as well and tend to be dense.
Before the late-90s, wheat flour (atta) was mainly home ground or milled through local chakki mills in India. The housewives used to buy raw wheat in bulk, clean it by hand, store it, and milled it using traditional hand driven chakki or bring some quantity of wheat every week to the local mill or chakki to grind for meeting their daily needs. Although, the wheat flour market largely dominated by local chakki mills in India; the branded packaged wheat flour emerged rapidly in the country in the past five years and breaking the old age traditions. The introduction of new product variants such as multi-grain atta, fortified atta by the national/regional players are capitalizing on hygiene and convenience factors
According to IKON’s (Market Consultants) estimate, the packaged wheat flour market in India is growing at whooping CAGR of almost 21%. If the growth trajectory remains the same, the market may likely to touch the new height of Rs 20,000 Cr by the end of 2021 itself. The various micro and macroeconomic factors are paving the way for the market to grow. However, still packaged wheat flour remained an urban phenomenon with the urban market occupying more than 90% of the total market. But with widening market penetration by the leading market players; the rural market would also see the steady growth in demand of packaged wheat flour in India.
The players dominating the packaged wheat flour market in India are national players, with a market leaders like Aashirvaad, Pillsbury, Nature Fresh, Annapurna, Shakti Bhog, Patanjali, Fortune etc. and more than 500 regional brands and private label brands together forming the organized market. A large number of players having distinctive brands and product quality created intensified competition in the market.
Though, the market experiencing keen competition and facing challenges, it still reflects potential to grow in coming years. The growth opportunities in Indian packaged wheat flour market would attribute to growing urbanization and associated convenience factors. In addition, the growing numbers of working women and their inclination towards the convenient food products; will enhance the future demands of packaged wheat flour in India. According to the IKON’s (Market Consultants) estimates, if the growth trajectory remains the same, the market of packaged wheat flour may likely to be more than double the current size by FY 2024-25 itself.
Despite competition, in each consuming centre, in small towns and urban and village areas, there is a scope to process wheat and convert into Atta which can be consumed locally.
A small Atta mill with a milling capacity of 30 MTs per day of 24 hours working can be set up with indigenously available machinery. A constructed area of 10000 sq.ft partially without side walls can be constructed for storage of materials, working area and space for storage of finished goods. The milling process will yield 95% Atta ,3% Bran and 2% Refractions. The wheat is generally available from North India from Madhya Pradesh , Rajasthan and other places. The main machines required are Separator, Destoner, Cockle cylinder, Scourer, Inclined Dampener, Plansifter, Entoleter, Silos, Coveyors etc. The power requirement is about 150 Hp and the manpower requirement is about 27 persons. The project can be implemented in 9 months if funding is tied up.
There are two types of atta chakki available in the market. One is horizontal and other is vertical type. The wheat is cleaned and sieved to remove dust and foreign particles then it is feed in atta chakki through feed hopper and requisite pressure is maintained between two stones to grind the wheat in the form of atta of required mesh size.
The cost of project excluding cost of land would be about Rs.240.00 lakhs. On operating unit at 60% capacity , the unit would achieve a sales of Rs.1554.00 lakhs, some part of Atta would be sold in bulk while others can be sold in Consumer packs of 1 kg and 500 gms. The buying price of wheat is approximately Rs.21500 and selling price of Atta in bulk is Rs.25000 per MT and in Retail packing it is about Rs.35000. The profit after tax would be Rs.186.00 lakhs. The project pay back is in two years.
FSSAI (Food safety Standard Authority of India) licence is compulsory. The MSME -Udayam Registration and GST registration and Pollution control Board NOC are required.
As per FSS Regulations, gluten in wheat flour should not be less than 6.0 per cent by weight; as per Agmark, it should be a minimum 7 per cent for standard grade and a minimum 9 per cent for special grade.