Written By Editor
All schools in India have been asked to set up “school nutrition gardens” by the central government. The gardens will have to be managed by the students, with the help of staff and teachers.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), which governs the education sector, issued guidelines for developing and maintaining kitchen gardens in schools in both urban and rural areas. The Government’s aim is to improve nutrition in schools, and also to connect children with the sources of food in an era of rapid urbanization and mounting environmental issues.
However, some schools have already embarked upon this journey well before the official guidelines came into place. One such is the Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School, Thane (Mumbai, India).
Students have been introduced to not just growing food within the school themselves, but grow it organically, without synthetic chemical inputs. The aim of the project has been to grow chemical-free, nutrient-rich vegetables and to provide an opportunity to learn by doing. The project is to teach the students how organic farming discourages environmental exposure to pesticides and chemicals, helps to build healthy soil, fight the effects of global warming and encourages biodiversity.
The students have sowed a wide variety of vegetables including cucumbers, chillies, lady’s fingers (okra), tomatoes, brinjals, spinach, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, ridge gourd, and capsicum, to name a few. The students have also planted paddy, to get hands-on experience of rice farming.
(Photos courtesy Smt Sulochana Singhania School, Thane, Mumbai. Check out more pictures on the school’s Facebook album.)
ndustry reports suggest that Italian cuisine is the second most popular international cuisine in India, after Chinese, due to the presence of several QSR chains. It isn’t, therefore, a surprise that companies like Del Monte want to ride this wave.
Written By Devika Singh
To boost growth, Del Monte has taken its offerings to smaller towns. But is the market ready for gourmet Italian food products?
For long, Del Monte has had a B2B focus, mostly seen as an accompaniment to meals in quick-service restaurants (QSRs). The company now strives to remodel itself as a consumer brand by employing a consumer-focussed marketing strategy, and has made its way into smaller towns with its Italian range of products. While the company has a retail presence in the top 50 cities, metro markets have been its focus thus far.
“Consumers have been exposed to Italian cuisine through out-of-home consumption in smaller towns; and now it is finding its way into their homes. We want to tap this demand as homemakers are known to experiment,” says Yogesh Bellani, CEO, FieldFresh Foods — a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Del Monte Pacific, which markets Del Monte products in India.
Industry reports suggest that Italian cuisine is the second most popular international cuisine in India, after Chinese, due to the presence of several QSR chains. It isn’t, therefore, a surprise that companies like Del Monte want to ride this wave.
Making its presence feltDel Monte’s presence in towns beyond tier I was hitherto limited to modern trade stores, but it now plans to tap into general stores or kiranas as well as the online marketplace. Currently, Del Monte products are present in 75,000 modern, general and cash-and-carry stores; the company plans to add another 25,000 general stores over the next 12 months. The South, West and Northeast markets will be the company’s key focus areas, as it already has an optimal presence in the North.
Apart from Amazon and Flipkart, Del Monte has tied up with e-grocery player BigBasket and hyper-local players such as Milkbasket. The company claims to garner 8-10% of its retail business from e-commerce currently.
But given the premium imagery of the brand and its pricing, Del Monte has had to make a few tweaks — primarily, introducing smaller package sizes and cheaper variants of products. “We have introduced olive oil in 100 ml, 200 ml and 500 ml variants. While we have an imported gourmet range of pasta, we have also introduced a more affordable domestic range,” Bellani shares. A 500gm pack of pasta from the domestic range is priced at Rs 110, while that from the gourmet range is priced at Rs 175.
Foremost on its agenda is to raise awareness about the products for which the company has leveraged its B2B presence. Del Monte has tied up with QSRs and restaurants in the smaller towns to develop recipes using its products, which are then displayed on their menus.
The company recently launched a mass media campaign — Can’t Get More Italian — after a gap of eight years, in a bid to position itself as an ‘authentic’ brand, and to showcase its products. Below-the-line marketing activities and digital media are two other areas the company is bullish on.
“We have created lots of digital content, recipe videos, most-asked questions, etc, to inform people about the products. Then there are tie-ups with influencers and bloggers to give users an idea about how to use our products,” says Anshu Anand, head of marketing, FieldFresh Foods.
No smooth ride
Del Monte’s journey into smaller towns through kirana stores will not be without roadblocks. According to Devangshu Dutta, chief executive, Third Eyesight, general store owners in smaller towns are “conservative and reluctant to stock new products”, as they don’t see a high demand for them. Hence, ensuring product availability on shelves would be a challenge for Del Monte.
The company will have to appeal to these retailers by offering deals or a promise of buyback in cases of unsold inventory, says Alagu Balaraman, partner and MD, Indian operations, CGN Associates. “Till the brand identifies the pockets where there is demand, selling in these cities will be an expensive proposition,” he adds.
Even the e-commerce route won’t be as easy for Del Monte. As consumers in these markets are only discovering products through online channels, encouraging them to make a purchase would need an extra push by the company.
Anurag Mathur, partner and leader, consumer goods and retail, PwC, points out that Del Monte will have to keep up with local players such as Bambino and Double Horse, which offer products in a lower price range. “Since consumers are experimenting with this cuisine, they are more likely to go for cheaper products,” he adds.
Written By ET Bureau
BENGALURU | MUMBAI: Walmart-owned Flipkart is entering food retail in India, where consumers spend about $500 billion on groceries annually.
Newly registered Flipkart FarmerMart, with an authorised equity capital of Rs 1,845 crore, will sell items produced locally. Sales will initially be online, although the company can also sell through physical stores.
“In line with the government of India’s FDI (foreign direct investment) policy,
Indian tea brands want a piece of this steaming hot business.
Written By Devika Singh
The company now plans to expand to the North Indian cities of Gurugram, Chandigarh, Amritsar and Lucknow, among others.
Homegrown tea makers are foraying into quick-service restaurants (QSRs) to tap into the ‘eating out’ culture in India and grow the business. But competition is aplenty — global brands have a formidable presence in India’s QSR scene, even as start-up brands such as Chai Point and Chaayos are gaining traction. According to a report by CARE Ratings, the total market size of QSRs in India is approximately Rs 25,900 crore. The overall restaurant and food service industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.4% between 2018 and 2020.
Indian tea brands want a piece of this steaming hot business. Society Tea, a brand predominantly present in Maharashtra, recently opened its first tea café in Mumbai. Goodricke Group has tied up with the Tea Board of India to launch tea lounges in Mumbai and Kolkata on the latter’s premises. Gujarat-based Wagh Bakri, which was among the first movers, plans to expand its tea lounge presence to 50 large and small format outlets, from the current 13, over the next four years.
When Wagh Bakri opened its first tea lounge in Ahmedabad in 2007, the company saw it only as another experiential marketing tool. “Initially, it was a place where people could explore different kinds of tea. But, over the years, we saw a demand for these lounges,” says Parag Desai, executive director, Wagh Bakri Tea Group. The company claims to receive a footfall of 300-400 people per day on an average in stores present in high-street locations.
“We have deliberately stepped out of food courts to keep our offering premium,” Desai adds. A Wagh Bakri tea lounge could entail an investment of Rs 50-75 lakh. The company now plans to expand to the North Indian cities of Gurugram, Chandigarh, Amritsar and Lucknow, among others.
Society Tea, meanwhile, plans to open 10 more stores — mid-size stores around corporate offices — in Maharashtra. Pricing will be its key differentiator. “We are not pricing the product at Rs 300 like other players, but offering a full glass of chai at Rs 50,” says Karan Shah, director, Society Tea.
Goodricke Group has five operational tea lounges in the country, with plans to open one more, its second, in Darjeeling by the year end. The aim is to first foster brand awareness via its presence in locations of high tourist interest.
Is a QSR foray really their cup of tea?
According to Devangshu Dutta, chief executive, Third Eyesight, each player could be backed by a different motivation to enter this space. Some may want to use it purely as a marketing tool, while some others may look at it as an alternative source of revenue.
QSRs can be an effective marketing tool especially for brands that have limited access to customers through retail. “Such stores help increase visibility and offer insights about their customers, their spending patterns, etc,” says Pinakiranjan Mishra, partner and leader, consumer products and retail, EY India.
However, expanding footprint in the market and eyeing revenue from the QSR chain could entail substantial investments for tea brands. “If tea companies look at QSRs as an additional business stream, then besides tea, there are food items and cold beverages to be served, which cannot be sourced just from the gardens,” says Dutta.
Furthermore, it will be an uphill task in the presence of biggies Starbucks, Café Coffee Day and Costa Coffee, that are established names in the market, in addition to other upstarts like Chaayos, which has over 50 cafés across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Chandigarh, and Chai Point which has 100 cafés in eight cities.
To get an edge, Harsha Razdan, partner and head – life sciences and consumer markets, KPMG India, says that new entrants would have to go beyond metros “and should ensure competitive pricing as the market is price sensitive”.