ITC, the over Rs 40,000 crore conglomerate, is planning to zero in on wellness and functional foods segment to grab a major chunk of this growing category in India.
The FMCG-to-hotel-to-tobacco giant has quietly entered the wellness and functional foods mart with Farmlite, a nutritional biscuit, a few months back. The foods business which had achieved a turnover of Rs 4,700 crore in 2012-13 constitutes a major chunk of new FMCG business of ITC. Sunfeast and Aashirbaad -the two major brands of ITC foods -have each crossed Rs 2,000crore mark going by consumer spends. The other food brands and sub-brands of the company include Bingo, Yippee, Mint-o and Candyman.
The divisional chief executive of foods of ITC, Chitranjan Dar, said wellness and functional foods will be the thrust area of the company in time to come.
“In the next two-three years, we are planning a slew of launches in different food categories and wellness will be the focus area. Currently, we are examining various possibilities in foods business, “he said.
Dar pointed out that it is looking at wellness and functional foods in different categories. “Our aim will be to achieve the perfect balance between health and taste. These two should not be mutually exclusive, “he added.
According to him, ITC wants to be a major player in this over Rs 5,000 crore wellness mart. “We are number 1 or number 2 in most of our categories so our target will be the same for the new segment as well. Aashirbaad is a leader in its category while Bingo and Yippee are number 2. In cream biscuit, we are No. 1, “he added.
The ITC foods division CEO feels that apart from new categories, creating differentiations in the existing category is also important. “Bingo did very well with product differentiation. There is huge opportunity in the finger snacks category. We also did region-wise product variation quite successfully, “he added.
The company is looking at different product formats in confectionary segment as well. ITC is now one of the leaders in confectionary business along with Parle, Cadbury and Perfetti.
Commenting on the raw material advantage of ITC in foods business, Dar added that almost 50% of raw materials are coming from own source. “Wheat and packaging is ours. So we can have a check on quality and price."