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ITC eyes bigger chunk in wellness foods market
The Times of India - 16 May 2014

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."

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