Betting big on the rapid shift towards branded players, DS Group is upping its ante in the spices business. The FMCG company aims to grow its salt and spices business by 30 per cent CAGR to make it a ₹5,000 crore business over the next 5-6 years. 

Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, DS Group told businessline, “Catch Spices has now entered the ₹1000 crore club and has seen a growth of 24 per cent CAGR over the past two years. Over the years, we have been very patiently building this business in this tough category. It has a lot of local competition and a large part of the segment is still unorganised. Our main priority has been to keep our quality intact and once we enter a household, I don’t think they ever change it.”

He added that the household penetration of Catch Salt and Spices is now estimated at over two crore households. “We aim to grow the salt and spices business at 30 per cent CAGR and expect it to grow to ₹5,000 crore business over the next five to six years. But topline is not our only priority, we do not want to compromise on our quality and do not focus too much on promotional schemes and discounting,” Kumar stated.

The spices segment has witnessed a lot of M&A action in recent years with players such as Wipro Consumer, Dabur India, ITC and MTR acquiring spices brands. Asked about inorganic growth strategies, Kumar said that the company remains “open” for such opportunities but it needs to be at the right valuations. DS Group’s revenues are estimated to be in the tune of over a billion dollars.

It is eyeing a larger share in tier-2 and tier-3 markets and also growing its rural penetration. It is also looking at a stronger play in the Sothern region. Currently, Catch products are available in more than 7 lakh retail touchpoints through more than 1,500 distributors nationwide. “We have ramped up our sales and marketing team to grow the reach of our spices products in tier-2 and tier-3 markets. The aspirational levels in these markets are at par with the big cities. For rural penetration, we are looking at strengthening the super sub model and going into towns with a population of 1 lakh, 5 lakh and 10 lakh,” Kumar explained.

The company said that nearly 20-25 per cent of sales in the spices business now comes from modern trade and e-commerce channels. In late 2022, the company roped in actor Akshay Kumar to endorse the brand. It spent nearly ₹100 crore in marketing and advertising for Catch Spices in FY24 and will continue to be aggressive on ad spending in FY25.

Recently, the company launched ready-to-cook gourmet gravies under sub-brand Kitchen Art. “This range is made in olive oil and is free of preservatives. We are seeing good traction especially from institutional buyers. We are also exploring new spaces in this segment. We have been expanding our Chinese spices range. We are also looking at the condiments space with sauces and other such products,” Kumar stated.