With or without Maggi, Yippee noodles is doing well, says ITC

Shilpa Ranipeta | Updated on January 22, 2018

VL Rajesh, CEO, ITC Food Division

Group betting big on dairy, beverages markets: ITC Food Division head VL Rajesh

The FMCG space is heating up this winter. After Patanjali fired up competition in the noodles market, ITC intensified the fight in the dairy segment — dominated by Nestle, Britannia and Amul — by launching Aashirvaad Svasti Ghee. Bloomberg TV India spoke with ITC Food Division CEO VL Rajesh to get a sense of the demand in the world’s second largest consumer market.

Is Maggi’s comeback a threat for Sunfeast Yippee noodles?

The first thing to keep in mind is that it has just been a few months of disruption. Before the whole episode broke out in May-June, Yippee was growing at more than 40 per cent by itself, with all the competitors in the market. We were gaining market share month-on-month even before the controversy happened. I just expect to carry on in the same way going forward, even when everybody is back.

Which food categories are you seeing the most traction in right now?

Noodles has been a runaway success as far as we are concerned. Our market share is quite huge. We have a plethora of businesses. We are pretty much a full-range food business operator. We have got biscuits, atta, salt, noodles, ready-to-eat, confectionery, snacks and chips, and so on. All our food businesses and categories are growing. So, if you ask me to discriminate and find out where we are getting traction…all our brands have been given great response. That is why in 13 years we crossed the $1 billion turnover mark (last year). Quite enthused by this we are getting into new territory — we entered dairy with the launch of ghee under the Aashirvaad brand last month. The initial response seems to play out whatever ITC has done so far in foods.

What’s next on the list?

Our Chairman has already said that we are actively looking at dairy, beverages like coffee, chocolate segment, etc. But I cannot give a timeline for any of these. We are looking at every opportunity to make this the largest FMCG business in the country.

After the Maggi controversy, a greater regulatory overhaul is coming in. How do you see that panning out? What is your take on it? Will it hamper business as usual?

Regulations were there before as well. We have always worked within the framework of the regulations. There have been a lot of issues around interpretation. As long as rules are laid out clearly and there is no ambiguity, it acknowledges the best practices that are happening in the world and there is industry involvement, I do not see a big problem going forward.

This ensures understanding and adherence. Also, even if there is a central law advisory, the interpretation in various States has to be clear and unambiguous.

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Published on November 26, 2015
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