The fu­ture of frozen food lies in in­no­va­tion and prod­uct dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion

Progressive Grocer (India) - - Expert Speak -

Mithun Ap­pa­iah CEO, In­no­va­tive Foods Ltd.

Play­ers in the frozen food busi­ness see a very strong op­por­tu­nity in the cat­e­gory but the fu­ture lies in mak­ing the right in­no­va­tion and prod­uct dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion. We, at Sumeru, are at the fore­front of bring­ing about this change, and are com­mit­ted to of­fer­ing the most in­no­va­tive and dif­fer­en­ti­ated prod­uct range – some of them be­ing the first of its kind – to our cus­tomers in In­dia. The Sumeru non­veg French fries is the first of its kind prod­uct in In­dia. We also are the high­est sell­ing paran­tha brand with prod­uct ex­ten­sions into me­thi, turmeric, ajwain, beet­root and multi­grain paran­tha. We have re­cently launched chicken rolls and pa­neer rolls, which are new in­no­va­tions that break away from the tra­di­tional potato- and -chicken play­ers. Our ke­bab range has been cu­rated by celebrity chef and Mas­ter Chef judge Ajay Chopra and is a tes­ti­mony to our ca­pa­bil­ity to quickly in­no­vate and launch prod­ucts. Sumeru will in­tro­duce some more out­ra­geously in­no­va­tive prod­ucts into the frozen mar­ket to daz­zle con­sumer imag­i­na­tion and taste buds.

Con­sumers in In­dia are be­gin­ning to see freez­ing as a way to pre­serve food with fewer neg­a­tives. It is be­com­ing a ma­jor rea­son to buy frozen foods, in ad­di­tion to con­ve­nience fac­tor, which was the big­gest mo­ti­va­tor be­fore. In Europe and North Amer­ica, there is a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in con­sumer pref­er­ence for healthy frozen foods and it is a ma­jor trend in those mar­kets. In In­dia, there re­mains some ves­tiges of an old men­tal block that “frozen is not healthy”. The mis­con­cep­tion about frozen food be­ing not healthy will even­tu­ally de­crease in the com­ing years as a big chunk of mar­ket­ing bud­gets of mar­ket lead­ers will be uti­lized for ed­u­cat­ing the con­sumers.

Even in the de­vel­op­ing Asian coun­tries, frozen food has seen a steady growth in re­cent years. This growth is mostly driven by an in­crease in the dis­pos­able in­comes, more num­ber of women join­ing the work­force, chang­ing food habits and life­style changes and a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the num­ber of large re­tail chains, in­clud­ing hy­per­mar­kets and su­per­mar­kets.

In In­dia, too, there has been an in­crease in the sale of frozen veg­eta­bles, fruits, meals, etc, with strong health claims in­clud­ing the high­light­ing of nu­tri­ents and ad­vanced tech­niques like “quick freeze”, etc. How­ever, the frozen mar­ket is mostly pas­sive to­day with few or no in­no­va­tion, bar­ring a few ex­cep­tions. Many chal­lenger brands are spend­ing more of their time and en­ergy in R&D to cre­ate in­no­va­tive prod­ucts to at­tract eye­balls and to pro­vide con­sumers with more choice.

Play­ers in the frozen food busi­ness see a very strong op­por­tu­nity in the cat­e­gory but the fu­ture lies in mak­ing the right in­no­va­tion and prod­uct dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion.

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