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INTERVIEW

“We intend to expand to 1,000 outlets by end of 2025”
Monday, 03 October, 2022, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Poultry meat is the world's fastest growing component of meat demand, and India being the world's second-largest developing country, is quickly expanding its poultry business. Integrated production, market transition from live birds to chilled and frozen products, and regulations that ensure competitively priced domestic or imported maize and soybean supplies are key to the Indian poultry sector's future success. Our Delfrez meat retail chain stores have been highly accepted by our customers throughout India, particularly in the south region, said Krishna Prasad, VP, process food division, Suguna Foods, in an email interaction with Nandita Vijay. Excerpts:

How do you envisage the growth of the processed meat segment?
India has significant untapped potential in the processed food sector that must be capitalised on. According to a Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) report on India's food processing sector, the industry grew by 11% between Fiscal Years 2015 and 2020 and is predicted to continue growing. The processed meat industry is being driven by global demand for ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook meat products. Working professionals' demanding schedules and busy lifestyles have increased sales of processed meat products. Aside from that, we've witnessed an increase in individual demand for animal-based proteins. This, together with the increased convenience provided by these products and significant expansion in the food processing sector, is pushing the acceptability of processed meat in India.

As young generation wants to try various cuisines of the world and higher importance to health and protein intake. Our significant portioning of the meat as per the requirement of the consumer gives great value for money and avoiding unnecessary meat wastages.

How are India’s poultry growth prospects?
Poultry meat is the world's fastest growing component of meat demand, and India being the world's second-largest developing country, is quickly expanding its poultry business. Integrated production, market transition from live birds to chilled and frozen products, and regulations that ensure competitively priced domestic or imported maize and soybean supplies are key to the Indian poultry sector's future success. These factors, together with government regulations controlling feed supply levels, will contribute to the future growth in India's poultry industry, as well as potential trade and investment prospects.

Where does the country stand globally in the space?
We, Suguna Group are the No 1 poultry broiler producer in the country, owning 15% of the market share and we are positioned in top 10 in the global ranking.

What are the shortfalls of the sector?

Regardless of the fact that India's processed meat market is developing, the main difficulty in the current situation is the absence of authentic knowledge and information about the processed food sector, which leads to people believing information about the lack of freshness and sanitation in processed meat. While we are trying to address this, there is still a long way to go. Additionally customers' adoption and acceptance of processed meat owing to their conventional eating habits and perceptions are among the most prominent challenges.

What are the visible trends that emerge?
We have witnessed a significant shift toward processed meat in recent years, as customers want meat alternatives that are quick, easy, healthy and flavourful. The trend of food traceability among new-age customers seeking meat substitutes has spurred a significant growth in global demand for processed food. Furthermore, due to the convenience of preparation and the shelf life, processed meat is becoming increasingly popular across India.

How has Suguna’s Delfrez which is the new-age processed food division faring in the country?
Delfrez is a chain of modern meat retail store  from the house of Suguna Foods where we offer a diverse choice of chicken, meat and egg products with high nutritional value to our consumers. While we are continuously innovating, we provide lip-smacking flavour to our consumers' taste buds through various Delfrez products. We currently have approximately 300 outlets and are doing well as Delfrez has been highly accepted by our customers throughout India, particularly in the south region.

Which are its fastest growing products?
We offer a wide range of meat products, including chicken, mutton, eggs, marinated Ready to Eat, Ready to Cook items. The fresh chicken where the customer can customise his own portions without any wastages, which is popular among our customers.

Share the infrastructure details of the company and the technology adoption, which covers location of the manufacture and equipment installed?
To support the supply chain we have three high-end poultry processing plants strategically located.

Delfrez, is designed to be as friendly neighbourhood meat retail store. We utilise cutting-edge technology and place a great value on providing our customers with high-quality, hygienic meat products. The Delfrez stores' exceptional ambience is visually pleasing, allowing us to give our customers a hassle-free purchase experience. All outlets are equipped with Point of Sale softwares, branded refrigeration to store products and the company is also working on its mobile application and e-commerce which will be launched soon in various cities.

What according to you are the key strengths of the brand?
As the protein leader for over three decades, our efforts to fortify the country with protein-rich products have aided in the development of the Farm-to-Fork concept which is our biggest strength. Our dedication to providing high-quality, nutritional goods has enabled us to introduce a variety of scrumptious meat alternatives. One of the key strengths of Delfrez is the backend integration & processing plant which ensures the highest quality and hygiene standards are met when it comes to meat supply.

Detail your expansion plans.
Delfrez is now present in major metro cities such as Chennai, Coimbatore, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Chandigarh, Pune, Mumbai, Trivandrum and Cochin, and is close to having 300 outlets across India. As part of our expansion strategy, the company intends to expand to 1,000 outlets by end of 2025.

What are the ongoing research efforts at the company?
As a brand, we constantly engage in market research to understand what’s consumer’s preference in the market in terms of product, promotion, and innovation.

Since the young working population is the key target audience, how is the company catering to their needs?
While we cater to all age groups, we notice a lot of purchases from the younger generation. With their hectic schedules and busy lifestyles, the younger generation prefers food that is nutritious, quick, and flavourful, which is why Delfrez is their preferred choice. Our products are also offered through ecommerce, where customers may select from a variety of chicken, mutton, eggs, marinades, and Ready to Eat, Ready to Cook categories. We also give a platform for customers to choose quantities and slices of their desired meat. Our ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook foods are quite popular with the working population.

Does the company export? If yes, what are the growth prospects and to which countries does it market?
Yes, we do export and cater to international orders in the Middle East.

How easy is it to get the right workforce to hire for companies like yours?
Suguna Foods is an excellent place to work for young and talented individuals with innovative ideas and boundless enthusiasm. We provide various opportunities to our employees to explore their interest in other departments. Being in the industry for 35 years, we have grown significantly, thanks to our association with our workforce and stakeholders.
 
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