Key focus area remains north, some parts of the west and east

Debdatta Das

The company also plans to launch a new variant, French Fries, under its ready-to-eat brand Hot Snax by November.

New Delhi, Oct. 15

Mother Dairy India Ltd (MDIL), a subsidiary company of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), said that it has embarked upon an aggressive brand expansion and strengthening plan for the next two years.

"We are planning to expand and strengthen the already existent brands not only through addition to the already existing portfolio but also through innovative marketing strategies," said Mr Paul Thachil, CEO, MDIL.

But the key focus area for the company remains the north, some parts of the west and east of the country, he said.

On its edible oil brand Dhara, Mr Thachil said, the company was looking at strengthening the brand presence.

The Rs 300-crore brand already has six variants such as refined vegetable, sunflower and soya bean oil, filtered groundnut and mustard oil and the recently introduced blended category.

"The blended oil category marketed under the Dhara Special brand name is present in one variation, soyabean and ground nut till now.

"We plan to add another variation to this category soon and market it specifically to Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra," he said. Dhara captures 10 per cent of the edible oil market and is sold in 1,200 towns.

The company's Rs 30-crore processed fruits and vegetable brand, Safal, is also set to undergo expansions.

MDIL is soon expected to begin exporting its mixed vegetables and corn variants under the frozen category to the West Asian market, where its frozen peas has a big presence.

It would also strengthen its presence in the domestic market.

Safal's frozen peas currently captures 7-8 per cent of the market and is targeted to acquire 10 per cent market share by 2008.

The company also plans to launch a new variant, French Fries, under its ready-to-eat brand Hot Snax by November.

Dairy products

MDIL has different plans for its dairy business, which includes flavoured milk, lassi, curd, butter and cheese besides its toned milks. Mr Thachil said that each of these products has a regional stronghold, with a shelf life of 10 days. However, the company is looking at alternatives that would increase the shelf life and allow the products to be distributed in other parts of the country as well. In the ice cream segment, the company has been able to capture 15 per cent of the market, and hopes to increase it to 20 per cent by 2008.

On MDIL's marketing strategies, Mr Thachil said that while the company does a lot of innovative advertising and on field activities, it spends 3-4 per cent of the turnover on marketing.

He added that all categories were experiencing a growth of 30-40 per cent per annum, and that the turnover was growing at 15-17 per cent every year.

MDIL had clocked a turnover of Rs 1,800 crore in 2005-06 and was looking at clocking Rs 2,200 crore in 2006-07.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 16, 2006)
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