The ₹60,000 crore worth of spices market in India is likely to witness some action with branded players including ITC Ltd, Tata Consumer Products Ltd (TCPL), and Emami among others upping their interest in the segment.

Considered to be a highly cluttered market, driven by regional preferences for taste, the branded spices market in India is estimated to be only around 40 per cent of the total market at close to ₹24,000 crore.

However, consumers’ growing preference for unadulterated, hygienic, and authentic spices and the convenience to use blended spices have been driving demand for organised players.

For instance, diversified conglomerate ITC Ltd plans to leverage the potential of branded spices both in the domestic market and exports.

The company recently acquired the regional spices brand, Sunrise Foods Pvt Ltd which has a strong presence in West Bengal. The brand was extended to other markets in the east and northeast and is among the top spices brands in the region, the company said in its latest annual report (2021-22).

ITC’s plans

ITC’s ‘Aashirvaad Spices’ continues to enhance its presence in blended spices in emerging channels and core markets to enable full portfolio play. At a recent press conference post the annual general meeting, ITC Chairman Sanjiv Puri said that the company’s spices plant at Guntur in Andhra Pradesh should be commissioned this financial year.

“Spices is certainly an area that holds immense promise, both in the domestic market and exports. So we have an integrated plan, we work with farmers to develop the crops in the right manner, we have an integrated crop management programme, a very large programme in Andhra Pradesh and that is where we produce some of those spices and we got tailored also to specific market requirements. We are doing it through Sunrise, and we also have our own brand Aashirvaad, which is a leader in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. And we want to build it step by step,” Puri said at the conference.

In fact, ITC in recent years has expanded its spices business into ‘food safe’ markets including the US, EU and Japan, leveraging its key strengths such as identity-preserved sourcing expertise, strong backward integration, superior processes, custody of supply chain and customer-focused strategies. Strong growth in exports was driven by new customers and a richer product mix, the report said.

Robust growth

The domestic business also posted robust growth on the back of higher offtake from large format retailers. The spices business scaled up its Integrated Crop Management (ICM) programme, thereby enhancing its ability to produce food-safe spices sustainably, it said.

The business also leveraged its strong backward integration linkages to enhance its presence in the organic spices segment, with the entire value chain being certified by globally renowned agencies, assuring product authenticity and compliance with stringent norms in the EU, US, and Indian markets.

TCPL is also looking to take its spices under the Tata Sampann brand into the southern markets with customised offerings to suit the taste of the local palate. During 2021-22, the Tata Sampann portfolio continued to grow in double digits, and in spices, it crossed the ₹100 crore benchmark (gross sales), the company said in its latest annual report.

Emami Agrotech, the branded food manufacturing arm of Emami Group, had also recently announced the national launch of its spices brand, Mantra. It expects the spices business to clock revenues to the tune of ₹700-1,000 crore in the next five years.

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