After its acquisition by Tata Consumer Products Limited (TCPL) in 2021, Soulfull has expanded to 4,00,000 stores across the country. Prashant Parameswaran, MD & CEO, TCPL, speaks to businessline on the demand uptick and product, gaining market share, and product expansions.
Edited excerpts follow.
What are the key changes that have happened in Soulfull after the acquisition by TPCL?
The purpose of the brand was about how to focus on millets. As a brand and a product, in terms of technology, engineering, the factory research and development, efforts were present, but how do we really take it across?
Before the acquisition, we were in 15,000 stores and today we are in 4,00,000 stores and sell in every single state in the country with the distribution network that TPCL has. It has given us the ability to go deeper into science. TPCL is a very trustworthy brand associated with Soulfull, which means a lot as you go deeper into the pop strata. All these pieces have really played themselves out.
With breakfast cereals and masala oats, what is the present market share? What are you doing to increase the market share?
In some categories like muesli, we are in the low double-digit market shares, and we just recently launched masala oats. In eight months, we have already touched the double-digit market share. With kid’s cereal, we have not yet reached double digits, but I’m confident by the end of this year, we will start hitting those.
There is a lot of work that we’re doing in terms of the brand. One is to ensure that the product constantly delivers on the promise and focus of millets to ensure high quality products in nutrition and taste.
The second is to ensure that we can bring them at affordable price points. So, we sell a lot of ₹10- ₹15 packs and we ensure that affordability is at the core.
Soulfull recently introduced Masala oats. What are the other product categories that the company is looking to expand?
We are constantly assessing a number of categories and I think that’s what is exciting about Tata Soulfull and the space, because we can build out the portfolio in strength. We have ambitious plans over the next 3-4 years, and where we want to build this to scale.
How is the demand for Soulfull products in rural areas? Are you witnessing a dip in demand due to inflationary pressures?
30 to 40 per cent of our business comes outside of the top 35 cities. It is a completely beautiful revelation for us because that’s where the belly of India is. These categories are very promising, and it is this set of consumers that are lapping up millets in an interesting way.
I don’t think we have much of a problem at this stage. Low-Unit Price Packs are very important and we are more focused on them. With the international year of Millets, there is a lot of consumer interest, which is enabling business growth.
Is there uptick in sales of products through D2C channels?
D2C is an interesting space. We look at it through a slightly different lens as it powers up to essentially get to the consumers’ voice quickly. Today, a consumer is truly omnichannel: they might go to a large format store or e-commerce website, or to a brand website.