The rel­ish of nat­u­ral fla­vors

Progressive Grocer (India) - - Category Watch | Meat & Seafood -

Com­pany Pro­file: The Amal­gam Group has been in the seafood in­dus­try for over 30 years. The com­pany has clocked many “firsts” in the in­dus­try – from the set­ting up of first Freeze Dry­ing unit in the coun­try to the launch of the first Cold Chain lo­gis­tics and one of the first Frozen Food re­tail brands. Prod­uct Port­fo­lio: Has prod­ucts in the ready to cook, ready to fry, and heat & serve cat­e­gories. The frozen seafood of­fered by its brand Buf­fet cov­ers four dif­fer­ent sizes of prawns, breaded seafood items like fish fin­gers, breaded fish fil­lets and breaded squid rings, all of which are coated with im­ported Ja­panese Panko Bread­crumbs. The same prod­ucts are ex­ported to coun­tries like the US and sold un­der the Buf­fet brand.

For its meat prod­ucts, the com­pany works with third party man­u­fac­tur­ers and prod­ucts are sourced from Sri Lanka and Europe. The Buf­fet brand’s largest sell­ing SKU (in terms of vol­ume) is Mal­abar paratha. Its sausage and meats and the newly in­tro­duced chicken nuggets and chicken pop­corn have also been very well re­ceived. Brand’s USP and Dif­fer­en­tia­tor: The prod­ucts are ab­so­lutely free of any preser­va­tives, ad­di­tives or ar­ti­fi­cial fla­vors. The prod­ucts’ nat­u­ral fla­vor pro­files give con­sumers a home-made prod­uct ex­pe­ri­ence.

Mar­kets and Con­sumer Seg­ments: The prod­ucts are avail­able Pan-in­dia from Cochin to Delhi and all the way to Kolkata and the North-east. Al­though the SKUS that move well in each region varies, the Mal­abar paratha, sausage and meats are grow­ing steadily and evenly through­out. The prod­ucts cater to all de­mo­graph­ics. Cat­e­gory and Mar­ket Forecast: The de­mand for frozen food is grow­ing. With cus­tomers in­creas­ingly look­ing for a qual­ity prod­uct that is con­sis­tent and avail­able through­out the year, frozen food is emerg­ing as the pre­ferred go-to food source. Con­sumers are be­com­ing aware of the qual­ity that most frozen food brands of­fer and how they are more hy­gien­i­cally pro­cessed than what is avail­able in am­bi­ent con­di­tions.

Our big­gest USP is that we do not add any preser­va­tives, ad­di­tives or fla­vors to our prod­ucts. We work with com­pletely nat­u­ral fla­vor pro­files, thus giv­ing the con­sumers a home­made prod­uct ex­pe­ri­ence. — Sun­deep Kurian Man­ager Com­mer­cial - Amal­gam Group

Con­sumer Con­nect Ini­tia­tives: The brand strives to drive cus­tomer loy­alty through its qual­ity of­fer­ings and the use qual­ity in­gre­di­ents. The aim is to get more and more cus­tomers try its prod­ucts first and the focus in on wet sam­pling at the store level. It also lever­ages the power of so­cial me­dia and is cur­rently work­ing on launch­ing a Pan-in­dia level e-com­merce de­liv­ery sys­tem for its range of frozen foods. The fa­cil­ity is lim­ited to Cochin and Ban­ga­lore at the mo­ment and will soon be ex­tended across the coun­try. Chal­lenges: The cat­e­gory faces op­er­a­tional chal­lenges in terms of cold chain man­age­ment. At times, dis­trib­u­tors have been at fault for de­liv­er­ing the prod­ucts in open boxes where the prod­uct reached the freezer al­most thawed. Re­tail­ers have been found to switch off the freezer at night in or­der to save elec­tric­ity, which cre­ates a se­vere qual­ity is­sue for frozen prod­ucts. To pre­vent such mis­han­dling, the com­pany ed­u­cates the dis­trib­u­tors on ef­fi­cient cold chain man­age­ment and en­sures that those with a frozen food back­ground are the only ones han­dling its prod­ucts. Though the op­er­a­tions in most met­ros are ad­e­quate, it is the sub­ur­ban areas where such de­fi­cien­cies take place.

Frozen foods brands are com­pet­ing to place their prod­ucts in the lim­ited freezer space avail­able. Also, re­tail­ers and dis­trib­u­tors find it hard to pro­vide ad­e­quate floor space for freez­ers, man­age power con­sump­tion charges for running large freez­ers and the stor­age of prod­ucts at a con­sis­tent -18C tem­per­a­ture. Th­ese fac­tors limit the po­ten­tial for growth in this sec­tor. Roadmap Ahead: Plans are afoot on launch­ing stand-alone stores for its prod­ucts across the coun­try, which will en­able it to place its en­tire range of 85 SKUS in its stores and also act as stor­age points for its e-com­merce de­liv­ery sys­tem.

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