South Korean packaged food major Orion is betting big on India at a time when Korean food has been gaining strong traction in the country. The company has recently announced an investment of about ₹200 crore in a manufacturing facility in Rajasthan and is now looking to scale up its India business through distribution expansion.

The company’s India portfolio comprises Choco-pie, O’Rice cracker and Custas Cup Cake.

Saurabh Saith, CEO, Orion India, said: “We began our journey in India in January last year and initially focussed on importing our Choco-pie product from Vietnam. Despite the Covid outbreak and subsequently the second pandemic wave, we have witnessed a strong growth in the first half of the year compared to same period last year albeit on a low base. We think India has the potential to be the fastest growing market for the brand and become a key growth engine for the group.”

Saith said initially the company will focus on manufacturing the Choco-pie at its manufacturing facility in Bhiwadi. “We have recently introduced O’Rice and Custas Cup Cake which are currently being imported to India. But these products are tailored to Indian consumers’ tastes. So we are looking at growing our presence in both the indulgence and healthy snacking spaces. As we scale up our business, we will also look at manufacturing other products in the country,” Saith added.

The Choco-pie segment alone is currently pegged at about ₹300 crore in India but it is growing in strong double-digits. “Our focus is not just to increase our market share but also grow this category in the country and we expect it to become fairly large in the next 3-4 years,” Saith added.

Strengthening distribution

The company sells its products across the country through the e-commerce channel and also has a strong presence in the modern trade stores. “We are now strengthening our distribution in the general trade stores across the top thirty cities in North India. In the coming months, we will look at ramping up our offline presence through the general trade stores in other regions such as Eastern and Western regions,” he said.