The relish of natural flavors
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.