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ITC Foods Goes For Soft Launch Of Cooking Pastes
The Financial Express - 22 Mar 2004

Pummy Kaul
New Delhi

In a bid to take a larger bite of the rapidly growing convenience food market, ITC Foods, the Bangalore-based foods division of diversified ITC, has added one more product to its portfolio of packaged foods. The company has soft-launched a range of 'cooking pastes' under its ready-to-eat gourmet cuisine brand Kitchens of India and readymeal Aashirwaad brand, as well. ITC Foods, when contacted, refused to comment on the proposed launch.

A niche category, the only player present in the nascent category is South-based ready-to-eat foods brand Tasty Bites which launched a range of 'curry pastes' last year. Dabur Foods, though the pioneer in introducing packaged pastes with its Hommade brand, has restricted itself to launching ingredient-based pastes.

Meanwhile, ITC is targeting both the top-end and the middle rung of the market. Under its gourmet cuisine brand Kitchens of India, the company has soft-launched a basket of cooking pastes including chicken curry, butter chicken curry, mutton curry, fish curry and vegetable biryani. These have been launched in 100-gm packs and are priced at Rs.30.

Under Aashirwaad, ITC is currently offering a 'multipurpose' cooking paste which can be adapted to both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Considering the target audience it's tapping with this brand, it is priced at Rs 10 for a pack of 80gm.

While details are not known, the products are being sourced from MM Poonaji Spices. The company, however, follows an outsourcing model wherein the products are sourced from local manufacturers and packed in packs that help sustain the product and increase shelf-life.

ITC, which has invested about Rs.10 crore in the R&D centre located in Bangalore, has brought a range of products including packaged atta, salt and biscuits in the recent past.