“We are market leaders in wafers category”
Ravinder Kumar Agarwal, Managing Director, Ravi Foods Pvt Ltd, which makes of a range of biscuits, wafers, chocolates and confectioneries under the Dukes brand, speaks to Progressive Grocer about the impressive growth of the brand and his vision to make i
Ravinder Kumar Agarwal, Managing Director, Ravi Foods
Tell us about your company and its products?
Dukes, as a company, has been marketing a range of biscuits, wafers, chocolates and confectioneries for over two decades. Our product portfolio ranges from our signature wafers, ‘Waffy’ to Waffy rolls, premium dark wafers, cream biscuits, chocolates, candies, cookies and assorted gift packs amongst others. We have set up state of -the- art manufacturing facilities, kept pace with the market trends and adapted to the ever changing business landscape.
As a brand, “Dukes” was created under the Ravi Foods label in the year 1995. We started with a manufacturing facility based out of Hyderabad, introducing a modest range of biscuits and wafers to cater to the city and its neighboring towns. Today, we distribute our products across India and have a reputation for maintaining consistent quality.
We are able to achieve this on account of our stringent quality and safety processes, which remain our areas of focus. A testimony to our quality is the fact that we have been chosen as partners by brands like ITC, Britannia and Parle to manufacture for them. We started operations with a mission to ‘Make for India and sell to the world’ much before it became a buzzword. This has inspired us to go global as a leading exporter to over 90 plus countries including the US, Middle East and Africa. Today, the Dukes Group has a turnover of INR 1,200 crore.
Which consumer segments are your products targeted at?
Our products cater to the entire spectrum, from children to adults. Typically, 70% of our consumers is anywhere between the age group of 6-18 years. The rest 30% belong to all age groups. For our product range, children are key influencers and parents are the decision makers.
What has been the growth rate of your product offerings?
Our flagship brand in the modern trade format has been Waffy. As market leaders in the category, we have driven growth and triggered the entry of new players in this segment. Our business strategy is to grow the market exponentially and to partake of a larger pie as we have invested in increasing the overall market size in the cream wafer category.
What is your strategy for taking your products to newer markets and demographics?
We are a strong player in the export segment in our category and we are exporting to over 90 countries across USA, Canada, Europe, Middle East, Africa & South East Asia. We have been recognized for our stellar performance in the area of export with the Best Exporter award by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, in 2017. Our sales and distribution network is well spread across India and we are strong across both Northern and southern markets.
How are you looking at health foods?
Health consciousness is on the rise today. And so is the market for healthy, wholesome foods. We, at Dukes, are committed to good quality products. We have also launched our new product - digestive biscuit - in this segment. We will be keen on exploring products that would serve the health conscious and discerning consumer as a long term strategy as we envisage the size of this niche market growing into a sizeable segment.
What is the contribution from MT and GT to the overall sales of your products?
Our endeavor is to grow in general trade just as we are growing in modern trade. With 90 lakh outlets, it is possible to create communication synergy only with advertising and mass media. We have grown exponentially in modern trade in the last five years since we started focusing on this channel. Now with some strategic brand building, we would like to further drive consumer preference and leverage that to build a larger space for ourselves in both modern and general trade.
Our product portfolio ranges from our signature wafers, ‘Waffy’ to Waffy rolls, premium dark wafers, cream biscuits, chocolates, candies, cookies and assorted gift packs amongst others. — Ravinder Kumar Agarwal MD, Ravi Foods Pvt Ltd
Taking up significant shelf space with multiple points of purchase within the same outlet and aiding recall and purchase have been among the many initiatives taken up by the brand. Product innovation is also a key ingredient for success in this marketplace. Dukes creams and bourbon are household favorites and enjoy a significant share in modern trade.
What are the competitive advantages for your products?
Quality, innovation and competitive pricing give the Dukes brand a distinct edge. We promise unflinching quality. We keep introducing new variants into the market. Consumers love our range of innovative products and so also the attractive offers and deals we offer them. I can confidently state that Dukes has won the hearts and palates of consumers of all ages across India. From Dukes they expect and get a complete value deal.
What is your marketing and branding strategy for promoting your line of products?
We have initiated a series of marketing initiatives. The brand’s promotional and marketing strategy is comprehensive, communicating across multiple consumer touch points - from ATL and BTL to social and digital marketing campaigns. Dukes had recently launched its TV campaign for the flagship brand Waffy. To raise the product’s Happiness Index, Waffy was positioned with the tag line ‘Don’t Worry be WAFFY’. Our digital campaign around Rakhi #sheismybro started trending on twitter at #2 position in many locations, grabbing the attention of over a million viewers on Facebook, thus building its own community of followers. With a range of Loony Tunes merchandise, and collectibles to be rolled out post Diwali, the company is set for ambitious targets for the last two quarters of the year.
What is the scope for greater value-addition in your product range and is there any such innovation being done or planned by your company?
Unconventional strategies are essential to yield breakthroughs for challenger brands. Change is the key to growth. At Dukes, we are constantly pushing the envelope to explore new products and packaging. Over the next few years, we will roll out products that are innovative in terms of features and packaging. This has been the brand’s hallmark from its inception and to that end a strategic long term road map is very much in place.
Tell us about your future plans and what you are doing to strengthen the market share.
As a market leader, we enjoy a 70% presence for Waffy across Modern Trade. Currently we have a pan-india brand presence in all markets. We continue to focus on our objective to make sure we achieve sustained growth. Our vision for 2020 is to emerge as one of the leading household brands in the country having a global presence and delivering world-class products and bringing happiness and delight to all our customers and associates. We are focused at becoming an Indian multinational with a manufacturing footprint across the globe.
Our huge export base is constantly exposing our team to emerging trends and latest technology in product development, manufacturing and packaging. This would ensure and help us while introducing new products into the Indian market. The FMCG retail sector is fiercely competitive and challenging.
We are opening up new facilities and introducing new products. We believe we have a clear competitive edge in both traditional and modern business formats. With a robust e-commerce and e-retailing strategy, we hope to fully engage the modern technology driven customer and emerge as an innovative leader in this excitingly competitive Indian and global market.
As a market leader, we enjoy a 70% presence for Waffy across Modern Trade. Our vision for 2020 is to emerge as one of the leading household brands in the country having a global presence and delivering world-class products.