“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

Progressive Grocer (India) - - Contents -

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.

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