The convergence of evolving food trends and technology driven online delivery solutions has given rise to an innovative and rapidly growing industry known as food tech. The industry in India has seen tremendous growth in recent years, driven by a combination of factors including rising disposable incomes, growing health consciousness, emerging consumer demands for convenience and indulgence, and increasing adoption of digital technologies. Riding on the wave of a flourishing internet economy, direct-to-consumer companies, QSRs, and cloud kitchens have enabled the consumers to consume food with immediate fulfilment. Though it is still early days, the industry looks poised to grow 4-5 times from the present size of $8-9 billion to $35-40 billion by 2030, presenting a compelling opportunity for businesses to capitalise on, according to a recent study e-Conomy 2023 by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company.
ITC has identified Food Tech services as a new vector of growth at the intersection of digital and its diverse enterprise strengths. As a 'new age' business venture leveraging the institutional synergies of Foods and Hotels Businesses, Food Tech presents a growth opportunity for the Company.
The inception of ITC's Food Tech service is born from the opportunity to deliver quality food at home conveniently with speed. Driven by the goal to provide premium dining experience at the comfort of consumers' homes, ITC has charted the course to become India's first 'delivery focused ' premium Food Tech venture, marrying the culinary expertise of ITC Hotels and largescale manufacturing capabilities of ITC's Foods Business.
ITC has leveraged the deep understanding of cuisines resident in its Hotels Business that helps craft offerings with meaningful differentiation in the respective categories. Tapping on the institutional strengths of ITC's Foods Business encompassing procurement advantage, crucial manufacturing capabilities to industrialise solutions at scale as well as R&D knowhow, these products have been made cloud kitchen friendly to deliver premium food experience at home in easy-to-eat sustainable packaging. Standardization of quality in the Food Tech service is maintained and achieved consistently as the entire operation is owned and managed by ITC.
Powering this new wave and enabling the last mile requires a model that is not only robust but keeps in mind technology, logistics and hyperlocalisation. ITC has adopted a tech-first hub-and-spoke business model, in which hyperlocalisation is enabled through nimble and agile operations and a demand responsive supply chain.
Catering to specific consumer trends and preferences, ITC offers unique dishes under three brands - ITC Aashirvaad Soul Creations, ITC Master Chef Creations and ITC Sunfeast Baked Creations.
ITC Aashirvaad Soul Creations - The dishes under the brand meet the consumers' need for wholesome and nutritious Indian food that is delivered at home. Aashirvaad Soul Creations offers a portfolio of freshly prepared Khichdis, Home-Style Curries, Chapati and Rice. The high-quality ingredients and home-style recipes deliver a tasty and nutritious experience to consumers at an affordable price point.
ITC Aashirvaad Soul Creations is also on a mission to bring millets back to consumers' dining table through an exclusive range of millet-based khichdis which is a delicious fusion of flavour and nutrition, with the added benefit of convenience. Moreover, the soulful, wholesome and nutritious food creation identity of ITC Aashirvaad Soul Creations is also leveraged by Aashirvaad brand, helping it strengthen its brand proposition.
ITC Master Chef Creations - The brand offers gourmet North Indian Cuisine to meet the consumers' need for indulgence and celebration at home. The consumers get a wide variety of dishes like Dal Makhni, varying range of Kebabs, Biryani, Halwa, Kulcha Dabeli and much more prepared by the Master Chefs of ITC.
The ITC Master Chef brand leverages the consumer insights on food preferences, recipes and cloud kitchen friendly processes of ITC Master Chef Creations to develop mass-scale ready-to-eat products.
ITC Sunfeast Baked Creations - ITC Sunfeast Baked Creations makes the Indian consumers indulge in the world of bakery while innovating on taste and textures suited for the Indian palate. Bakery cuisine has become synonymous with just Cakes and Pastries, especially in the food-delivery space, leaving Indian consumers devoid of the plethora of experiences that the world of baking has to offer. ITC Sunfeast Baked Creations offers a diverse portfolio that comprises of Baked Croissants, Cheese & Garlic Pull-Apart Bagels and Gourmet Breads.
These Food Tech brands not only serve the consumers' specific needs but also contributes to the country by popularising millets through select cuisines, focussing on Indian cuisine vis-a-vis global QSR chains and promoting Circular Economy by adopting sustainable packaging solutions for the Food Tech products.
Started from the Cloud Kitchen of ITC Windsor in 2021, ITC's Food Tech brands have created a strong mark in a short span of time with high consumer love, retention and word of mouth. The Service has witnessed encouraging success in Bengaluru with a current footprint of 19 Cloud Kitchens catering to almost the entire city. The services have been extended to Chennai with 4 cloud kitchens.
As a new vector of growth, ITC is investing in building foundational capabilities and setting up systems for scale up for its Food Tech venture. The Company will look to gradually expand the footprint in other national markets, whilst honing the portfolio and operating model.