Agri Business

McVitie's to bake biscuits for Indian palate

Divya Trivedi New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2011 Published on January 20, 2011

A year after entering India, United Biscuits, the makers of McVitie's Digestives, is already talking about expanding production capacity. It is also categorical that despite an imminent change in ownership globally, its India expansion plans will continue to roll.

The company may set up a second plant soon to cater to an increasing demand and offer consumers a wider range of products to choose from in 2011, said Mr Jayant Kapre, President, United Biscuits Private Ltd.

Currently, the company produces 10,000 tonnes of the biscuits annually at Kala Amb in Himachal Pradesh, which is less than half of its total annual capacity of 30,000 tonnes. However, as demand increases, the company is open to either acquiring a new factory or setting up one independently, said Mr Kapre.

“It has been a year of our operations in India and the small factory we acquired of SS Food Industries has grown to a mid-sized one now. As demand evolves, we will be looking at a second plant some time soon,” Mr Kapre told Business Line.

At the moment, UB ruled out any plans of bringing its Jacob's Cream Crackers, Hula Hoops and Skips brands to India, focussing only on McVitie's here. It plans to launch new variants of the same.

“We have a host of differentiated varieties available with our parent company in the UK to choose from, fruit cookies, centre-filled, oat-based and several categories of digestives,” he said. But the variants will be redeveloped for India as copying the recipes does not make sense.

“Even the wheat in India is different from that available in UK and so the same taste can only be approximated,” he said. The company launched five variants in year one and would continue to launch new variants at the same rate this year as well, he said.

According to an AC Nielsen survey and internal assessments, the company has leadership position (more than 50 per cent) in the digestive markets of Jaipur, Ludhiana and Indore.

Its products are available in 125 towns at present, and in more than 80,000 stores across the country. It currently has a sales force of a 100 people but is hiring to ramp it up quickly.

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Published on January 20, 2011
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