Agrotech Foods, a subsidiary of the US-based Conagra Foods, will enter the olive oil category with a new brand — Olivea. Apart from its flagship brands, Sundrop and Act II, Olivea would the third brand in its India portfolio.

Considering olive oil is an imported commodity, the fast moving consumer goods company has decided to blend it with sunflower oil to hedge itself against the depreciating rupee.

Ashish Sharma, Vice-President, Marketing, Agrotech Foods, said, “We are test marketing olive oil but it will be blended with sunflower oil as the latter can be locally sourced. This will help in partly absorbing the cost of our olive oil which will be competitively priced.”

Since olive oil is not conducive for deep frying food items, blending it with sunflower oil is also expected to make it more suitable for Indian cooking.

“We are about creating benefit-driven categories in India. Adding sunflower oil to our olive oil brand is about giving a blended benefit to consumers,” added Sharma. Agrotech Foods has been striving to create value-added categories and move away the commodity-driven categories. Apart from groundnut and mustard oil, the Sundrop franchise also includes blended oil variants such as Sundrop Superlite, Sundrop Nutrilite, Sundrop Heart and Sundrop Goldlite.

Conagra Foods entered India by acquiring majority stake in ITC Agrotech and naming its subsidiary as Agrotech Foods. The 25-year-old Sundrop oil brand, with sales turnover of Rs 450 crore this fiscal, has also been extended into new categories such as peanut butter and cooking sprays. The brand is also test marketing new categories such as snacks and ready-to-eat meals. Niche snacks such as chocolate pudding are also in the offing.

As Sharma says, “Snacks such as chocolate pudding are niche and we have test marketed it at a few stores. Our strategy is to get into categories which are not present in the Indian market.”

While it would continue to bring Conagra Foods international portfolio into the country, it would also make efforts to localise the products. For instance, its Sundrop Peanut butter (developed along the lines of Conagra’s Peter Pan peanut butter in the US) will now sport smaller stock keeping units (SKUs) and local flavours. “Sundrop Peanut butter is an imported product from the US but when we start locally manufacturing it in India, there will spicier flavours and smaller SKUs to cater to the needs of Indian consumers,” added Sharma.

Brand extensions are also being considered for its popcorn brand Act II which might soon sport tortilla chips under its franchise.