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ITC Foods forays into instant mix segment, dishes out 5 products
The Hindu Businessline - 21 Feb 2006

ITC, which has a presence in diverse industries ranging from tobacco to hospitality sector and ready-to-eat (RTE) foods, has made an entry into the instant mix segment, by launching five productsin Coimbatore on Tuesday.

The company is confident that though it is a late entrant into this segment, where there are already strong players such as Orkay and MTR, it would be able to garner 20 per cent of the market share in the first full year of launch.

ITC is also banking on its foods division to propel its growth in the coming years and expects the share of the division in the total turnover to increase nearly five-fold in the coming decade.

Speaking to newsmen hereat the launch of ITC's `Aashirvaad' instant mix, Mr Sanjay Srinivas, Branch Manager, ITC Ltd, Coimbatore, said ITC has launched five products in the instant mix category — Rice Idli, Rava Idli, Rice Dosa, Gulab Jamun and Khaman Dhokla.

He said while these products offer great convenience to the homemakers to prepare traditional delicacies, it also provides them the opportunity to showcase their culinary expertise in preparing them since only the base dough is made available. In that way, they are different from RTE products that requires only re-heating. The instant mix has six months shelf life and is free from preservatives.

Asked as to how the company hoped to perform in a segment that has already well entrenched brands like Orkay and MTR, he said ITC's Aashirvaad brand has become the No 1 atta brand in the country. ITC is confident of leveraging its brand image across the country and its immense distribution strength offers it a great advantage in reaching to the customers.Mr Srinivas put the size of the instant mix market in India at about Rs 155 crore and the South accounted for nearly 45 per cent of the market with Andhra Pradesh, Karnakata and Tamil Nadu taking the lead.

The greater acceptance of the concept of convenience food in the South has been a factor for the growth of the instant mix and RTE segments in the region. The instant mix segment has been growing annually by 15 per cent and ITC's goal is to get 20 per cent of the market share in the first year of its product launch in this segment.