ITC sets sights on wellness food category

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on September 04, 2016

Divisional Chief Executive, Food Division, ITC

FMCG major wants to leverage ‘Aashirvaad’ brand across other segments

FMCG major ITC Ltd is looking to strengthen wellness category offerings under the branded packaged foods business, even as it looks to leverage the equity of the ‘Aashirvaad’ brand across other segments.

The recent launch of the ‘Aashirvaad sugar release control atta’ is seen as one such move to shore up the health-based portfolio. Priced at ₹60/kg, the new variant – the sixth sub-brand under Aashirvaad atta – has low glycaemic index, useful for diabetic patients. It has already been rolled out nationally.

According to VL Rajesh, Divisional Chief Executive, Food Division, ITC, “a lot of products” – catering to the wellness segment and otherwise – are in development stages across the company’s Life Sciences & Technology Centre in Bengaluru.

“We straddle between both indulgence and wellness categories. While it is true that we have a greater focus on the wellness category; having healthier offerings under indulgence segment is not ruled out either,” he told BusinessLine.

While indulgence primarily includes snacks and cream biscuits, wellness refers to variants of ‘Aashirvaad atta’ and the health biscuits range under ‘Farmlite’ brand.

“We are seeking to be a food solution provider and our claims in the wellness category are backed by scientific data. Crores have gone into developing the sugar release control atta. A lot of products are under development in our Bengaluru facility,” Rajesh maintained.

A nascent market

Sources include that the wellness foods category is a nascent market in India that is seeing exponential growth. And, it is no secret that FMCG majors are targeting the space.

ITC Chairman, YC Deveshwar, has time and again reiterated the company’s commitment towards exploring options in the ‘wellness and functional foods’ category. The Kolkata-based FMCG major is also looking to leverage the brand equity of ‘Aashirvaad’ across its other segments, primarily those which use atta as its base product.

For example, in the just launched ‘Farmlite’ digestive biscuit – where it categorically mentions “no added sugar, maida, no artificial sweetner” – the company has an additional line on its package that says ‘made from Aashirvaad atta’.’

Consumer spends in Aashirvaad are pegged upwards of ₹3,000 crore, annually.

“Aashirvaad enjoys huge brand equity among consumers,” Rajesh said, adding that the company may leverage it for Sunfeast Yippee’s atta noodle variant. “We will do that a little later,” he said.

The second largest player in the instant noodle market, the atta noodle variant was added to its portfolio in June.

Published on September 04, 2016
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