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ITC mulls new brand for vegetables

Diversified conglomerate ITC Ltd will create a new brand to foray into fresh vegetables domain. The tobacco-to-FMCG-to-hotel-to-agri business major is likely to enter the market with fresh potato — a first-of-its-kind in India — followed by some more fresh vegetables. The company is also planning to launch fruit pulps and juices in order to become top food company in India. Devising the ‘India First’ strategy for the future, CEO Sanjiv Puri (in pic) said: “Currently, we rank No. 3 among the food companies in India with a total Rs 8,000-crore consumer spends and two Rs 3,000-crore plus brands — Aashirvaad and Sunfeast. ITC has always preferred to create indigenous brands for its new businesses that include foods, personal care products and stationary.” The two Rs 3,000-crore plus food labels are also indigenous brands, which were created in the last decade.

Puri pointed out that going forward, the focus will be on fruit, vegetables and sea foods because only 2%-3% of the perishables are now being processed in the country. “We shall bring some food products in the fresh form or in shelf-life-enhancing form. Like, we are planning to introduce fresh potato soon,” he added. The company is planning to launch low sugar potato and anti-oxidant potato soon. Besides potato, as indicated by Puri, ITC might come out with dehydrated onion later this year.

The Kolkata-based company had created a brand called ITC Master Chef for prawn and blended spices earlier this year. The divisional chief executive of the agri business of ITC, S Sivakumar, said the dehydrated onion could come under the ITC Maser Chef brand. “We are planning to launch more food products in fresh, semi-processed and in puree form. We are also launching mango pulp soon. This could be under ‘B Natural’ brand,” he added. The food brands of ITC include Aashirvaad, Sunfeast, Candyman, Bingo, Yippee!, ITC Master chef B Natural, Aashirvaad Swasti Ghee, Mint O, Sunbean and Fabelle. Besides Sunfeast and Aashrvaad, the two other over Rs1000-crore brands are Bingo and Yippee!.

Candyman has also crossed Rs 500crore mark in terms of consumer spends. Aashirvaad is alredy No. 1 in branded atta while Sunfest is among the leaders in biscuits. The ITC CEO argued that one of the main reasons to come out with semi-processed and fresh vegetables is to reduce colossal waste in fruits and vegetables in India. “There is an annual loss of Rs 90,000 crore in perishables. This can be brought down by devising a proper strategy. Food is a very big opportunity for us. ITC has a very strong agro backend as well as trade marketing network, which is required for this,” he added.

Source: Times of India

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