Britannia Industries eyes bigger bite of the rural pie with premium offerings

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on October 21, 2020

Varun Berry, Managing Director, Britannia Industries   -  Nishant Ratnakar

To expand distribution network to drive growth

The country’s leading biscuit-maker, Britannia Industries, is eyeing a larger share across rural markets banking on successful premiumisation of its portfolio. This apart, there are plans for the launch of vitamin-rich, immunity boosting products over the next 3-4 months.

Rural markets account for 30 per cent of the company’s turnover; and this is expected to go up further in the next few quarters.

According to Varun Berry, Managing Director, Britannia Industries Ltd, the rural market is growing at 1.5 times the urban (for the company) and growth opportunities exist across premium categories like creams and cakes.

Besides, the company is also “democratising” some premium offerings by making them available in small packs for lower-income consumers. Different premium offerings in creams and cakes are now being pushed across the 22,000-odd distributors it has, at present.

The company management, during a recent conference call, maintained that distribution has improved since March. Distributors were ramped up from 19,000 in the pre-Covid period.

“In terms of SKU mix, we feel that the rural portfolio is working quite well. Democratisation of brands has happened and we have expanded certain parts of our portfolio there (in rural areas) like in the creams (cream-filled offerings). We can create some more products, if required,” he told BusinessLine.

Rural thrust

Britannia’s focus on rural markets is an 8-year-old journey now. It started with small value packs of regular offerings priced at ₹5 for brands like Marie and Tiger; and this was subsequently expanded to include premium low unit priced ones like GoodDay. New launches include “Treat Burst” – cream filled snacking – and three-layer cakes.

“In terms of consumer preferences, we do see both rural and urban ones aspire for premium offerings. The difference could be in pack sizes,” Berry said.

During Q2FY21, the company witnessed double-digit growth in the Hindi belt, with Uttar Pradesh being the best performing state. GoodDay, Bourbon and Mariegold were in focus during the quarter. Post unlocking, the company has re-implemented the “continuous replenishment model”, research firm Edelweiss Securities said in a report.

“Deepening distribution network, particularly in rural, with focus on driving growth in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, will hold it in good stead. The company’s aggregate growth has improved with the rise in its market share. Britannia is also plugging gaps in its portfolio,” the report said.

Vitamin-rich fortified products

According to Berry, vitamin-rich and immunity boosting offerings are expected to be launched over the next few months. The portfolio will cover segments like dairy and biscuits. Incidentally, biscuits apart, adjacencies like rusk, cheese and wafers are some of the segments that have done well for the company.

“We are ready with the vitamin-rich and immunity boosting products. Right now the consumer research is on,” he said.

As production lines run to capacity, Berry says the company is eyeing greenfield projects in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu; while brownfield expansion will happen at Odisha and Maharashtra. A ₹700-crore capex plan has been laid out.

Published on October 21, 2020

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