“We are look­ing at E-re­tail part­ner­ships to ex­pand our con­sumer reach”

Nee­l­ima Burra, Chief Mar­ket­ing Of­fi­cer, Cargill Foods In­dia, speaks to Pro­gres­sive Gro­cer on the com­pany’s pi­o­neer­ing in­no­va­tions in dif­fer­ent oil cat­e­gories and about its plans to ex­pand the prod­ucts’ reach through the dig­i­tal chan­nel.

Progressive Grocer (India) - - Contents - Chief Mar­ket­ing Of­fi­cer, Nee­l­ima Burra Cargill Foods In­dia

Nee­l­ima Burra, Chief Mar­ket­ing Of­fi­cer, Cargill Foods In­dia

Tell us about your FMCG busi­ness and prod­ucts.

Cargill Foods In­dia op­er­ates across a wide ar­ray of oil cat­e­gories – span­ning sun­flower and soy­abean, ground­nut, mus­tard largely as non-re­fined oils, as well as olive at the top end of the mar­ket. Sun­flower and soy­abean to­gether con­sti­tute 67% of CFI B2C busi­ness.

Cargill Foods In­dia en­joys a na­tional pres­ence through its brands Gemini, Na­ture Fresh oil and pack­aged atta, Sweekar, Rath, Sun­flower (hy­dro­genated fats) and Leonardo olive oil. Gemini is Ma­ha­rash­tra’s lead­ing sun­flower brand, built on the plat­form of her­itage. It was the first branded oil to be vi­ta­min for­ti­fied. Na­ture Fresh is po­si­tioned as a light oil for ac­tive life. Sweekar Ad­vance is high oleic sun­flower oil, while the Leonardo olive oil comes in all vari­ants in­clud­ing the re­cently launched new vari­ant- Leonardo olive oil-ex­tra Light, which is best suited for day-to-day In­dian cooking.

What is the value dif­fer­en­tia­tor for your prod­ucts? How would you de­scribe the com­pet­i­tive USP and dif­fer­en­tia­tors for your prod­ucts vis-a-vis the com­pe­ti­tion?

The big­gest dif­fer­en­tia­tor for our prod­uct range is the high qual­ity that we of­fer to the con­sumers. In line with our global phi­los­o­phy of nour­ish­ing peo­ple, Cargill Foods In­dia has been a pi­o­neer in set­ting in­dus­try bench­marks in terms of qual­ity, hy­giene and pack­ag­ing. We were the first in the in­dus­try to of­fer for­ti­fi­ca­tion in ed­i­ble oil through our brand Gemini in the year 2008.

Our pack­aged atta brand Na­ture Fresh of­fers a unique con­sumer propo­si­tion of three pronged ben­e­fits: high di­etary fiber; made from 100% whole wheat; per­fectly grounded, i.e. ‘Na Zyada Ba­reek Na Zyada Dar­dara’. Th­ese three ben­e­fits come to­gether to give the new-age con­sumer a high qual­ity prod­uct, which not only aids bet­ter di­ges­tion and ab­sorp­tion but also gives more strength and en­ergy to the body. Na­ture Fresh Sam­por­rna Chakki Atta was awarded the es­teemed Con­sumer Su­per­brand hon­our in the Su­per­brands Con­sumer Award and is also the fastest grow­ing pack­aged atta brand in the coun­try.

Our re­lent­less com­mit­ment has made Cargill an en­dear­ing brand among con­sumers and our aim is to be the most pre­ferred FMCG brand in the coun­try.

What is the con­sump­tion pat­tern, growth rate and mar­ket size for your prod­uct cat­e­gories?

The de­mand for a va­ri­ety of oil is very re­gion-spe­cific (see in­fo­graphic). For the ur­ban pop­u­la­tion, we have

been wit­ness­ing a pref­er­ence that is skewed to­wards health­ier re­fined oils like soy­bean, sun­flower and newer oils like olive oil.

Which are your best-sell­ing prod­ucts, their ma­jor mar­kets and the mar­ket share they oc­cupy?

Brands in Cargill In­dia’s port­fo­lio cater to varied con­sumer seg­ments with dif­fer­en­ti­ated de­mo­graph­ics, psy­cho­graph­ics and ge­og­ra­phy. Oil in­dus­try is a very frag­mented brand play. Ev­ery state has its own choice of brand which, in turn, is gov­erned by eth­nic­ity and the her­itage of taste. Brands in Cargill like Gemini and Sweekar sun­flower oil, Rath, are iconic lead­ers in their re­spec­tive mar­kets. We also have Leonardo olive oil in our port­fo­lio, which is lead­ing the olive oil cat­e­gory.

How do you see the growth rate for your prod­ucts in re­cent years? How do you see the de­mand for your prod­ucts grow­ing in the fu­ture?

If you look at In­dia ge­o­graph­i­cally, food, life­style, cul­ture and choice of oil changes ev­ery 500 kilo­me­ters. South In­dia con­sumes more of sun­flower oil, North and East con­sume soya and mus­tard oil re­spec­tively. It be­comes very dif­fi­cult to make a generic cam­paign, which will res­onate well from North to South and East to West. Look­ing at the way the oil in­dus­try is frag­mented, our strat­egy has al­ways been to speak to con­sumers one-to-one in their lan­guage in a man­ner which re­flects their cul­ture and tra­di­tion, to make it rel­e­vant to them.

In ad­di­tion, we have seen changes in the con­sump­tion pat­tern over a decade. In­ter­net ed­u­ca­tion has helped peo­ple to gain more in­for­ma­tion and con­sumers are seek­ing knowl­edge and un­der­stand­ing about the prod­uct they want to use. Their de­mand from the prod­uct and the man­u­fac­tur­ers is very spe­cific and hence our strat­egy is also to ac­tively en­gage with the con­sumers on the dig­i­tal plat­form through e-re­tail and e-mar­ket­ing cam­paigns.

Do you have a re­tail strat­egy for reach­ing out to the smaller towns and cities and how do you think of the growth op­por­tu­ni­ties in th­ese ge­ogra­phies? How do you see the growth trends for your prod­ucts in ur­ban ver­sus ru­ral ar­eas?

We are present pan-in­dia and our prod­ucts and brands are widely dis­trib­uted in lead­ing stores in mod­ern trade and gen­eral trade. E-re­tail is an up­com­ing chan­nel trend and we are look­ing at part­ner­ships to ex­pand our con­sumer reach through this plat­form.

Our brands have a strong re­gional pull so we are strong both in metro and smaller cities.

What are your plans for strength­en­ing the mar­ket share and con­sumer reach of your prod­ucts?

Brands in the CFI port­fo­lio en­joy good eq­uity in their re­spec­tive mar­kets and we will con­tinue to cre­ate more en­gage­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties with con­sumers. On brands that are still early in their life cy­cle, we plan to take them to more house­holds, lever­ag­ing our wide pres­ence of dis­trib­u­tors.

We have seen changes in the con­sump­tion pat­tern over a decade. In­ter­net ed­u­ca­tion has helped peo­ple to gain more in­for­ma­tion and con­sumers are seek­ing knowl­edge and un­der­stand­ing about the prod­uct they want to use.

Tell us about your ex­ist­ing pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity and man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties and your plans for ramp­ing up the op­er­a­tions go­ing ahead?

CFI owns and op­er­ates three state-of-the-art ed­i­ble oil re­finer­ies lo­cated at Pa­radeep (Odisha), Kandla (Gu­jarat) and Kurkumbh (Ma­ha­rash­tra).

What do you see as the way for­ward for Cargill Foods in terms of growth, op­por­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges?

The CFI strat­egy is to emerge as the most pre­ferred con­sumer brand in the food space through our brands – Gemini sun­flower oil, Sweekar sun­flower oil, Na­ture Fresh, Leonardo olive oil and Rath.

What are the ma­jor mile­stones you are look­ing to achieve in In­dia?

Cargill In­dia is a global leader in nour­ish­ing peo­ple. In In­dia, our aim is to be the most pre­ferred con­sumer brand with pres­ence in cen­ter of plate through sta­ple food cat­e­gories and ed­i­ble oils.

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