Trends, developments and opportunities for manufacturers and retailers in India
Deoki Muchhal, Managing Director of Cargill’s food business in India, speaks to Progressive Grocer about the trends and developments that are shaping the bakery industry in India and the opportunities it presents for manufacturers and retailers. What is the current status of the bakery industry in India and how do you look at its future prospects?
The bakery industry today is evolving rapidly and it is currently a fusion of traditional products with western bakery concepts. With end consumers becoming increasingly important, the focus is on creating good experiences for them by increasing the touch points for greater engagement – be it in the form of cafes or mini eateries or even departmental stores, which allows for sampling and offering all meals of the day. Consumers are more conscious than ever before, and this has resulted in greater demand for quality ingredients, including fats besides making bakers more conscious as well.
Which consumption trends in the bakery category would you like to highlight?
Baked goods have always been popular among the consumers, especially breads and cookies as they are readily available and easy to consume on the go. The consumption of bakery goods depends majorly upon the availability, flavor, health quotient and innovation. As consumers are becoming more curious and open towards food experimentation, the consumption of baked products has increased manifold. Now, if you observe, one-third of any sweet shop is now filled with baked goods. Thus, artisan bakers have a wider platform to showcase new techniques and expand their consumer base. Seeing this growing trend, home bakers and bakery outlets have also increased in the country, in the last few years.
How do you see the bakery market in India developing for value-added products?
The bakery industry in the country is witnessing a growth of 12-15% per annum. Today, with close to 50% of the country’s bakery segment being with artisan bakers, they want to experiment with their skills and develop new techniques, which will give them the liberty to provide something different to the consumers.
Where do you think are the future opportunities for manufacturers and retailers in the bakery segment?
Bakery products, due to their high nutrient value and affordability, are items of huge consumption. The high demand provides an opportunity for the manufacturers to experiment with flavors and techniques to create more products. The Indian bakery industry is one of the biggest sectors in the country’s processed food industry. Thus, in terms of increasing the business, the bakery sector is taking gradual steps towards the future of the segment. The
innovations, for instance, introducing bakery fats, shortening or margarines, are some of the important steps that we are taking in the industry.
Which factors play an important role in this category’s performance?
With health becoming a priority and the number of discerning consumers increasing at a fast pace, the focus is on quality ingredients that provide a good experience. In this scenario, the choice of fats is becoming increasingly important as it affects the mouthfeel and texture. Bakers are very selective today about the fats they use as it plays an integral role in the overall experience when consuming products – whether it is cake, cookies, puffs, kharis, etc.
Any suggestion for brands and retailers by way of introducing new product features, more value addition, etc. that would give more traction to the category?
Analyzing the demand of modern consumers as per their lifestyle and matching the supply as per the requirements will not only gain traction but also inspire the manufacturers to push the envelope further. The bakery industry has a lot of potential to expand their business; we just need to focus towards the demand of the consumers, gauge what they like and provide solutions matching their likings.
Tell us about the role played by your company in raising the benchmarks for the bakery industry in India and in contributing to its development?
Cargill’s major goal is to nourish people in a safe and sustainable way. This reflects in our offerings across brands. Our contribution to the bakery industry is through our brand Naturefresh Professional, whose shortenings and margarines and technical support from the application center based out of Gurgaon, provides a complete solution to its customers. Under Naturefresh Professional shortenings, we have Naturefresh Professional Classic for puffs & kharis and Elite for cookies. Under margarines, we have Naturefresh Professional Champion, Genius, and Master. Finally, in Specialty, we have Naturefresh Professional Lite, which has been giving brilliant results in cakes and cookies. As a brand, we are constantly innovating and looking at expanding our product portfolio with newer variants, all aimed at adding value to bakers and allowing them to make quality products while continuing to delight consumers.
The bakery industry in the country is witnessing a growth of 12 -15% per annum. Today, with close to 50% of the country’s bakery segment being with artisan bakers, they want to experiment with their skills and develop new techniques, which will give them the liberty to provide something different to the consumers.
As a company, what are your future plans for bringing newer technology and solutions to the bakery segment?
Cargill is constantly looking at newer avenues for engaging with bakers and customers. Fueled by the objective to enhance value creation, educate bakers by increasing their knowledge and acumen while partnering with them to create quality products, the brand is constantly engaging with bakers, customers, and even consumers. With consumers becoming increasingly particular about the products they consume, the brand also engages with bakers to increase their consciousness and awareness on the importance of food safety and hygiene conditions to cater to these consumers.
Deoki Muchhal MD, Cargill’s food business in India