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INTERVIEW

“Customers ready to pay premium prices”
Monday, 18 September, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Assocom Institute of Bakery Technology and Management (AIBTM) is a one-of-its-kind comprehensive teaching, training and research centre specifically for baking technology and allied disciplines. It will bring in the best of global skills, knowledge, training methods and culture in the fields of science and technology related to wheat-based and cereal-based products. All programmes have been drawn up with industry guidance. In an e-mail interaction with Anurag More, Raj Kapoor, the institute’s managing director, shares details on the programmes, the changing business scenario and more. Excerpts:

What kind of demand have you seen in the bread sector in India?
The bread and baked food market has shown an impressive growth in recent years. The market has witnessed strong growth due to various factors such as convenience, affordability, and health benefits of bread and baked food. Moreover, India has now increased variety of bakery and  confectionery products available - some more nutritious and others more indulgent to match with world quality standards. Most importantly, customers are now ready to pay premium prices for fresh, healthy and nutritious breads.

What are innovations happening in the product and technology?
Since the bread industry has been gradually moving towards line production instead of running a traditional bakery, there has been an analogous shift in the way baking is practiced and the technology is engaged. A number of innovations and changes have happened in Indian bread industry over the years. The line production of baked products is increasing, while the number of traditional craft bakeries are also moving towards automation.

What steps are being taken by manufacturers to strengthen their foothold?
Latest trends witnessed in the industry reveal that bread manufacturers are increasing their manufacturing capacities to expand their foothold base through consolidations and upgrading. With a change in eating habits and preferences of consumers, the bread industry is coming up with innovative products and flavours, and a variety of breads. Manufacturers are interested to recruit skilled human resources for quality improvement and control of pricing through reduction of costs.

What kind of growth are you witnessing in organised retail?
Over the years, retail sector has emerged as one of the distribution points of fresh baked products. While the sales of branded and regional baked products in organised retail has been increasing @ 15% per annum, freshly baked products in retail has also witnessed enormous growth. There has been increased employment opportunities as the bread and confectionery sales have increased in retail.

What are the prospects for the bread sector in India?
With availability of conveniently available quality and safe ingredients and technology supported ever growing increasing urban consumer base, specially youth and female work participation, bread sector will continue to grow @ 10-15%. In addition, rise in health awareness about nutritional food, growing disposable incomes, changing lifestyles and preferences of consumers as well as a widening scope of the Indian retail market will drive the industry growth.

Give comprehensive SWOT analysis of the sector.
The industry is not without its challenges. With increasing raw material prices, the bread industry is on the upswing over last one year and expectation is that the trend will persist. Though, strong research backing; availability of modernised and upgraded manufacturing facilities; Emerging small and artisan bakeries; and availability of trained human resources will lead to positive impact on growth of bread industries in India.

How is the distribution network of bread sector in India?
It is industry-driven and has been growing with availability of breads and products in all grades of cities and villages.

What are the trends the bread sector in India is currently witnessing?
Consolidations and mergers are expected to continue over few years in organised bread industries. Though, many small players are showing increasing trend towards production and supplies of artisan breads. It will further lead to further of the bread. A number of new international bakery chains have entered into India over last few years. It is a big challenge for existing international and domestic baked products manufacturers to sustain their increased business growth.
 
How will the GST roll-out impact the bread sector in India?
GST impact on bread is to be largely positive. Though, impact the raw materials, distribution and logistics is still to be evaluated by the industry.
 
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