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INTERVIEW

“We are working on chocolate, jam-based snacks”
Monday, 18 December, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Harcha Bhaskar, Mumbai

Indore-based company Prataap Snacks Ltd is one of the top six snacks manufacturing company is India, with an approximate turnover of Rs 900 croreand products distributed in 28 states. The company is present in three major savoury snack food categories - Extruded Snacks, Chips and Namkeen in India. To give customers finest quality of products, the company has five full-fledged manufacturing units across India; the biggest spreading over eight acre in Indore. These units not only boast of advanced technology but are also known for excellent processing & packaging which are done in a fully automatic environment, untouched by human hands.

Amit Kumat, managing director and chief executive officer, Prataap Snacks Ltd, talks about the company’ s growth, expansion of product portfolio, and the country’s snacks market, in an email interaction with Harcha Bhaskar. Excerpts:

What are the trends that are witnessed in the snacks foods industry?
The Indian food retail sector has emerged to be one of the fastest growing in the country. There are significant growth perspectives which can be looked at in the years to come. In the sector, the consumer is preferring easy snacking and wide variety of snacks, including traditional and Western snacks. The growing trend of snacking is driving the demand for on- the-go and portable size of packets. Few trends that are already ruling the Indian snacking market include the following: Roasted Snacks, Low Fat Biscuits &Chips, Nutritional Bars, Salty Snacks in Savoury Flavours, Frozen Ready-To-Eat food. Due to the shift in consumption pattern and rise of international brands in India, it has become important for Indian brands to experiment as per the changing taste and demands of consumers.   

How competitive is the snacks food market in India? How different is your product from the competition?
We seek to differentiate ourselves from our competitors through introduction of new products, including launching innovative flavours targeted at addressing consumer taste, market trends and providing superior value to consumers. Our diversified product portfolio enables us to cater to a wide range of taste preferences and consumer segments, including adult and children. Our products in the Extruded Snacks category are primarily targeted at the youth and children while our Potato Chips and Namkeen category of snacks are for all consumer segments. Our diversified product portfolio is therefore, relatively less susceptible to shifts in consumer preferences, market trends and risks of operating in a particular product segment. Our brand philosophy emphasises delivery of maximum value to consumers, as reflected by the regular introduction of new flavours, relatively high per pack weight to volume ratio for our products, and inclusion of thematic toys.

How big is the snacks market in India? What is the market growth rate?
The Salty Snacks market in India is estimated at approximately Rs 550 billion, out of which organised Salty Snacks market is estimated at Rs 220 billion and grew at a CAGR of 14% between 2012 and 2016. With increasing competition and cost pressure, there has been a gradual shift from an unorganised to organised sector across the various product segments. Availability of a variety of snacks, easy accessibility and a variety of SKUs are some of the major factors that have influenced this growth in the market. According to research firm Euromonitor, the business of salty snacking will be worth Rs 35,000 crore in India by 2020 and we are aiming to achieve at least 10 percent of that market.

What is your company’s share in India’s snacks market?
In terms of revenues, Prataap Snacks is one of the top six companies of 2016. It has a strong presence in eastern, western and northern markets and is increasing penetration in the southern markets as well. We are the market leader in the Rings segment (part of Extruded Snacks), and its share in the overall organised snacks market has grown from 1% to 4% from 2010 to 2016.

What are the various products offered by your company? How different is your product from the competitor?
Yellow Diamond product range includes Potato Chips, Chulbule, Rings, Puff, Namkeen,   Wheel and Scoops. This includes a wide range of snack foods, flavours and SKUs, thereby effectively addressing a large consumer base. As of March 2017, we had 33 flavours of Chips and Extruded Snacks; and 23varieties of Namkeen in the market. The portfolio also includes traditional Indian snacks as well as Western snacks.

We seek to differentiate ourselves from our competitors through introduction of new products, including launching innovative flavours targeted at addressing consumer taste, market trends and providing superior value to consumers. We believe that the relatively high grammage and consequent value proposition has been an important factor in the growth and acceptance of our brand and our market share, particularly in the urban, semi-urban and rural markets in India.

Tell us about your manufacturing unit and various products manufactured.
We own and operate three manufacturing facilities across India and intend to expand production capabilities and undertake modernisation of our manufacturing facilities to aid efforts to deepen our pan-India presence. One of these manufacturing facilities is located at Indore in Madhya Pradesh while the other two are located at Guwahati in Assam. We have also engaged two facilities on a contract manufacturing basis, located at Bengaluru, Karnataka, and at Kolkata, West Bengal. Our manufacturing facilities are strategically located, near our key markets and raw material supplies, thereby ensuring cost-efficiencies in procurement of raw material as well as transportation of finished products through super stockists and distributors. For example Indore is a key distribution hub for quality potatoes.

We have also leased a cold storage warehouse near our manufacturing facility in Indore that enables us to store potatoes during the harvest season for use in the off-season.

What are the innovations taking place in the company?Are there any new launches, variants to be introduced by your company in coming years?
We are currently working on manufacturing of chocolate- and jam-based sweet snacks made up of fresh wheat and maize flour. We have hired food technologists from Italy who are already working on making of bakery products. Consumer’s taste preference is nowadays taking a shift towards healthier snacks which are roasted as well as fat-free, we are focussing on meeting such consumer’s demands.

We will get into a bigger Macro-Snack category from only being a Salty Snacks player with our launch of Sweet Snacks category under a new umbrella brand “RichFeast.”

What is your marketing strategy for next five years?
We intend to use some part of the net proceeds for advertising and marketing activities to increase brand awareness and recall of Yellow Diamond. We have spent Rs` 368.08 million on advertising and sales promotions of our products in fiscal 2017 across kids’channels, general entertainment channels and other channels. We have also appointed superstar Salman Khan in year 2016 as our brand ambassador for a period of two years.  We have tie-up with Nickelodeon channel for cartoon characters “Motu Patlu” for our product “Ring” which we advertise on various kids channel on a regular basis.

Further, there is an increasing trend towards modern retail trade in the urban markets due to the availability of multiple brands and varieties under one roof. To maximise the visibility and build the Yellow Diamond brand in our existing markets, we intend to focus on sale of our products on premium multi-brand retail outlets. Hypermarkets and supermarkets usually stock larger size SKUs. Our focus on this category of retail outlets would allow us to increase the sale of larger size SKUs.

Is the company into exports? Which countries?
Our distribution network enables us to effectively respond to market demand, evolving consumer preferences in our territories, and competitive pressures. Our supply chain management systems enable us to efficiently manage our distribution network. As of March 31, 2017, our distribution network included 205 super stockists and over 3,400 distributors. Our distribution network covers urban, semi-urban and rural markets, targeting a wide range of consumers. We have divided our sales and distribution network into zones: north, east, west and south. We also have a small portion of revenue earned from exports which is not very significant right now.

How much is the target revenue of the company for the year 2017-18? What rate is the company growing?
We have grown at more than 27% CAGR in last five years. Even after having comparatively bigger base now, we intend to grow faster than industry to increase our market share.
 
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