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ITC to focus on premium personal care products, packaged food for more profits
The Financial Express - 21 Jun 2014

With net sales of Rs. 34,984 crore for FY 2013-14, ITC, the maker of Sunfeast biscuits and Fiama Di Wills soaps, is increasing its focus on premium personal care products and packaged foods brands to improve profitability in the current fiscal.

After witnessing increasing consumer franchise for its premium offerings, ITC Foods is gearing up for product launches this year. ''Our strategy is to promote our premium brands in the packaged foods sector. Our strategy includes higher consumer engagement, focus on innovations and brand building initiatives,'' said Chitranjan Dar, CEO of ITC Foods.

Like ITC Foods, the company's personal care division is seeing an increase in consumer franchise for its premium offerings under the Fiama Di Wills and Vivel brands.

ITC Personal Care's core strategy for its premium brands will revolve around building consumer franchise by creating consumer engagement, interaction and bonding with consumers, according to Sandeep Kaul, CEO of ITC Personal Care. "Leveraging interactive digital platforms to communicate and e-commerce to promote brands are playing a significant role in engaging consumers online. With evolving aspirations of the Indian consumer, premium brand offerings are seeing a surge in consumer franchise," he added.

At present, ITC Foods leads the pack in the Rs. 4,500-crore cream biscuits sector (premium) with 25.4% market share. ITC is followed by Britannia Industries with 18.4% share and Parle Products with 18.1% share.

''ITC has raced ahead of Britannia and Parle Products with launches in the premium sector which is growing faster now," said an analyst with a domestic brokerage firm in Mumbai.

To strengthen its portfolio in the premium segment, the company introduced 'Sunfeast Farmlite' (health cookies) a few days ago. "Our launches are supported by our focus on research and innovation, cuisine expertise acquired through ITC hotels and capabilities in agri-sourcing gained through ITC's e-Choupal initiative," said Dar.

With revenue of Rs. 5,000-crore, ITC Foods currently sells its flagship premium biscuit brand 'Dark Fantasy' priced at Rs. 30 for a 75 gm pack in 4,50,000 outlets across India, of which 1,00,000 outlets are located in rural India. According to Dar, ITC's food business is driven by the company's extensive distribution network, consumer insights, operations across the value chain and a 360 degree approach to product communication. ''This strategy will continue for all future launches in the foods segment," he said.

ITC Personal Care is planning to strengthen its product portfolio through new launches and range extensions. “Our exclusive partnerships with marquee events such as 'Wills Lifestyle Indian Fashion Week' has built our premium imagery,'' said Kaul.

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