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Chairman Speaks - 2003

ITC said on Wednesday it expected revenue from its foods division to touch Rs 500 crore in the next four years by which time it also hoped the foods business would start earning profits.

ITC foods division chief executive Ravi Naware said the growth would be driven to a large extent by the company's foray into the fast-growing biscuits segment.

ITC, which announced the launch of a range of biscuits on Wednesday, expects the biscuits segment to contribute Rs 150-200 crore to its turnover in the next four years.

"We hope to a have a market share of 10-11 per cent in biscuits in three years," Naware said. This would, however, still place ITC at number three behind market leaders Britannia and Parle.

Naware said ITC would initially source its biscuits from two factories — one in Burdwan in West Bengal and the other at Nagpur. The outsourcing activity could be extended to a further two factories in the next three years to support the firm's growth plans.

The biscuits segment is one of the fastest growing industries in India at the moment.

Naware said the "popular biscuits" category — made up of Glucose and Marie — was worth Rs 1,450-1,500 crore and was growing at 9-10 per cent yearly. The "value-added" biscuits segment comprising checkers and cookies was also growing at around 10 per cent annually.

Naware said ITC had planned an aggressive media campaign to drive the sales of its biscuits. "We would be spending heavily to promote our biscuits," he said, without elaborating.