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INTERVIEW

“Branded honey in India growing at CAGR of 10%,” says APIS India’s Anand
Monday, 30 October, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Shraddha Joshi

APIS India is one of the leaders in the field of organised honey trade in India. With a mission to make pure and natural products, the company has a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility spread over an area of seven acre with a capacity to process over 100 tonne of honey per day.

The company also provides specialised honey, which comprises ginger, lemon, organic, honey with nuts and honey with comb, and its products have been benchmarked to meet European Union (EU) and other international standards.

In an e-mail interaction with Shraddha Joshi, Amit Anand, joint managing director, APIS India, said, “India produces 7,000 million ton of honey, out of which 50 per cent is exported annually.”

What is the size of the Indian honey market? Tell us about the consumption pattern of honey in the Indian market.

In the Indian market, it is estimated that the size of both the branded and unbranded segments, as per industry estimates, is approximately Rs 2,000 crore, with the share of branded honey being approximately Rs 700-800 crore.

The consumption pattern of honey is not dependent on any season or age group. The branded honey market is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10 per cent, with a current market size of Rs 700 crore. India produces 7,000 million ton of honey, out of which 50 per cent is exported annually.

Do you think that the demand for honey has gone up globally due to factors like lifestyle diseases rising, while the importance of honey is now communicated for its medicinal value?
Health consciousness is on the rise, and the honey market is also evolving. Honey, being a natural energy booster, and due to its high medicinal value, the demand of honey increasing rapidly.

In recent years, consumers have become more health conscious and serious about their quality of food. In almost all categories, there has been a progressive demand for healthier natural options.

Recognised around the world for its many benefits and uses, honey is very popular, being a natural  and healthier supplement  to sugar.

It has been witnessing a steady surge in demand. Being a 100 per cent natural product, derived out of nectar from flowers and made by honey bees, honey has zero fat and zero cholesterol, and is ideally suited to the modern-day hectic lifestyle.

Brief us about the products offered by your company. What is the research and development (R&D) that goes into your product to maintain the shelf-life of your products?
APIS India is one of leaders in the field of organised honey trade in India. Our domestic brand Apis Himalaya Honey is now stepping up its presence in the organised Indian honey market.

We have also expanded our horizons and get into newer categories like cookies, tea and preserves, to name a few. There will be also product expansion planned beginning next year onwards.

Our production facilities are aligned to the ISO 22000 standards, from procurement to processing and till final delivery.

Robust quality control (QC) procedures have been put forth with well-documented process flows that ensures traceability till the bee keeper level.

The labs test for antibiotic traces and various other parameters to meet the strict product requirements laid down by our various buyers with a clear focus to deliver quality food products.

Tell us about the new one plus one offer valid on 1kg, 500g and 225g honey packs. Is this move of one plus one in line with the other major brands opting for similar strategy to sustain market competition?
It is our initial promotional strategy to penetrate the Indian market and to reach more and more consumers and offer quality products at attractive prices.

Our long-term vision is to challenge the status quo in the market and become a dominant player in the branded honey segment as well as an established fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company in India.

What quality parameters are undertaken to ensure the safety of your products? What are the key strengths of your product that give it an edge over other market players?
We are one of the few companies which have been certified with ISO 22000 for documented procedure that are applicable to food safety framed by the international body for honey. We are one of the true source-certified companies in the honey segment in India.

How do you see the growth in the organic honey market? Which kind of certifications does a food business operator has to obtain?

It is niche but slowly building up. There are multiple certifications a business operator needs to obtain before starting the production and export of honey.

Being in the export business, and that too in the food category, calls for following stringent quality and safety norms.

Business operators have to put forth robust QC procedures, with well-documented  processes that ensures traceability till the beekeeper level.

According to small market players, the market has lately been plagued by price cutting (in which big brands are allegedly indulging) and large-scale adulteration. Comment on how to improve the quality standards of honey.
We are offering a pure product of the best quality. We have a strong sourcing and big global volumes, hence we have been able to offer a product this pure.

There are things like composition, moisture content, fructose, sucrose and glucose percentages, conductivity and floral source, that need to be taken care of in order to improve the quality of honey.

Recently, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has concentrated its focus on checking honey for quality standards, and is conducting surveys to ensure the quality. How have you stayed updated with the new regulations to keep a check on the quality across your supply chain?
We adhere to all the standards laid down by FSSAI and have specialised research and development (R&D) as well as quality teams to ensure that all the standards for supply chain management are adhered to.

From procurement to final delivery, our production facilities are aligned to the ISO 22000 standards.

The labs test for antibiotic traces and various other parameters to meet the strict product requirements laid down by our various buyers, with a clear focus on delivering quality food products.

To which parts of India do your products have thier reach?
We have our reach pan-India except the North-East, where our reach is in Assam only.

What aids do you get from the government for your business and for the exports?
The government grants help in developing business through activities such as expansion, commercialisation, R&D, innovation and exporting.

This economic support is backed by:
  •   Advisory and mentoring services
  •   Workshops and seminars
  •   General and industry-specific training
  •   Networking opportunities
  •   Subsidised products, such as business planning tools
What are your views post-Goods and Services Tax (GST)?
Being in a FMCG market, earlier we had to pay many taxes, including value-added tax (VAT), service tax, excise duty and Central sales tax.
But GST, which covers all the above taxes under one single tax, is what we believe is good for our industry.

Earlier, the  tax rate for the FMCG industry, including all the taxes is around 22-24 per cent.

But after implementation of GST, the rate has come down to 18-20 per cent, which has been welcomed by most of the players in the FMCG market.
 
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