India among the top ten priority markets for us: General Mills

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on July 27, 2020 Published on July 27, 2020

US-based packaged foods major General Mills, known for brands like Pillsbury and Betty Crocker, plans to scale up its India business and considers it to be among its top ten priority markets for future growth.

In a strategic move, the company has decided to make India as a key hub for the Asia, Middle East and Africa region and its top executive, who will lead the operations of the region, will soon be stationed in Mumbai.

Balki Radhakrishnan, Vice President and Managing Director – Asia, Middle East and Africa, General Mills, told BusinessLine, “India is among the top ten priority markets for us globally and the company believes there is significant potential to grow our India business. Even though our businesses in other parts of the region (AMEA) are significantly greater than our business in India, the company has made a strategic choice to base my role out of India.”

Offers baking solutions

General Mills has a strong presence in the packaged atta segment with brand Pillsbury in India. It also sells Nature Valley-branded biscuits and snacks products and Betty Crocker cake mixes. The American packaged food company has been a key supplier of flour and baking solutions to food services companies and bakery stores.

Radhakrishnan, who is in the process of relocating from Dubai to Mumbai, said that the company sees strong opportunities to scale up both the retail and food services businesses. “In line with our consumer-first strategy, our innovations focus on solving real consumer needs. Due to the pandemic, there is a greater consumer need for hygiene, health and nutrition. Consumers are also seeking greater value. Both these areas will be critical for our future growth plans,” he said.

“Our brand Pillsbury is well-recognised in the country and we believe there are opportunities for the brand to play in adjacent segments. The way the brand is perceived in India, is significantly greater than the actual size of its business,” Radhakrishnan added. The company also believe snacks and biscuits brand Nature Valley is well poised to play a bigger role in its Indian portfolio. It has also been expanding its B2B products portfolio offering baking mixes, frostings and cream to bakeries.

Digital growth

“Due to the shift from away-from-home consumption occasions to in-home cooking, we have witnessed strong demand for our packaged atta portfolio in the past few months. We have also witnessed exponential growth on the e-commerce channel,” he added. The company has been tying up with new e-commerce players for last mile delivery not only for retail business but also its food services business to navigate supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic.

Radhakrishnan pointed out that packaged atta under brand Pillsbury and biscuits under brand Nature Valley have been innovations that were developed for Indian consumers by the company. The company exports both atta and biscuits to other markets from India. He added that the “trusted and recognised” brands in packaged food sector are expected to see stronger traction among consumers in the times of the pandemic.

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Published on July 27, 2020
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