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Indian consumers appreciate good value for money: Kurush Grant, ITC
The Economic Times - 05 Aug 2013

Kurush Grant of ITC says that Indian consumers appreciate good value for money.

In an interview with ET, Kurush Grant, Chairman, FICCI FMCG Committee and Executive Director - FMCG, ITC discusses the company's focus on product quality & innovation. He also says that going forward, any company that drives innovation and adds value for consumers will win.

At a time when consumer spending is down, what according to you should consumer goods companies do to overcome the market challenges?

Fundamentally, the Indian consumer has always appreciated value. They always want good value for money. Consumer goods companies need to ensure that they can deliver good value to consumers, innovation in product designing, distribution, cost management, marketing and communication to consumers.

This is the time when one can company can differentiate from another, and good companies will always win. In all, driving innovation and adding value will be the key for companies.

Are Indian retailers and FMCG companies effectively working together to drive consumption or is there more scope for synergy?

Indian FMCG companies will always compete with each other and there is unlikely to be complete synergy. However, in certain areas like standardisation, transparency to consumers and intermediaries, retail organisations and FMCG companies can work together. The focus should be on reducing overall cost and thereby helping the consumers.

How is digital marketing evolving in India?

The potential for digital marketing is huge. However, equally big is the potential to sell through the digital medium with physical delivery of the product based on efficient supply chain. However, it will not stop consumers going to retail outlets, where they will go for an outing and compare products and service. This process of evolution has already started in India but a lot more will happen in digital sales and marketing.

How is ITC trying to address the tough market situation? The company's FMCG business performance is still better than peers...

At ITC we give the highest focus on product quality, which is of the best standard. We are committed to derive innovation in our products and what it can do for the consumers. This will drive our growth rate.

ITC's non-cigarette FMCG business is close to break-even. How would that change the game for ITC's FMCG business?

We are on track to breakeven the non-cigarette FMCG business this year. However, the business is a holistic one covering a wide range of products and segments. Some of the segments have already broken even. But if we are going to launch new products and categories this year, there will always be a lag time. But yes, the general direction of the newer FMCG businesses is correct which will boost both the topline and bottomline for ITC and drive value for the consumers.

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