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Indian Atta (whole wheatflour) industry: history and recent trends


*Corresponding Author email:
Flour Milling, Baking & Confectionery Technology Department
CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore- 570020. India.


Wheat has been a staple food with the high level of consumption largely unaffected by changes in its price. India is 2nd largest producer of wheat producing 85-90 million metric tons (MMT) every year, accounting 12.05% of the total world wheat production. 40 to 45 MMT of wheat is ground to produce whole wheat flour, locally known as atta in stone mills known as chakkis.
Indian market is largely dominated by local flour mills, but they are now facing competition from branded packaged atta manufacturers who are campaigning for hygiene and convenience factors. With the rise of modern retail formats, increasing disposable incomes and health awareness, the category is undoubtedly evolving.


Wheat is one of the world's most important field crops and the third most produced after maize (corn) and rice (1). It belongs to grass family, Gramineae, and the genus Triticum (2). Globally wheat is grown in 122 countries producing nearly 700 million metric tons. India is 2nd largest producer of wheat and is maintaining the position from last eight years (3). India accounts for 12.05% of the total world wheat production, which is next to China accounting 18.41%. Wheat production for major wheat growing countries for the year 2011 is shown in Table1 (4).


Structure and composition of wheat
Kernel of wheat is divided in three main parts viz. endosperm, bran and germ. The endosperm, or, as, it is sometimes termed, the food bag of the grain of wheat, contains approximately 82-85% by the weight of the grain, bran 14% and germ 2-3%. Endosperm gives energy for plant growth and carbohydrates & protein for people. Bran protects seed and is rich in fibre, B-vitamins, minerals; whereas germ nourishes seed, future wheat plant and is excellent source of antioxidants, vitamin E and B-v ...

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