Diversified conglomerate ITC
will be rolling out new product categories every quarter in perishable foods like fruits and vegetables, going forth. “There is a lot of work in process right now. Essentially, there are two vectors along which rollouts are going to happen.
First, new categories that require climate-controlled ecosystem will be launched, like fruits and vegetables. That will happen every quarter. Second, within existing categories, there would be value addition,” S Sivakumar, group head, agri and IT businesses, said.
Leveraging a 45-year experience in prawn exports, ITC
waded into the frozen foods segment with Master Chef prawns.
Currently available in Hyderabad and New Delhi, the product will be launched to five more metro cities by October.
The market for frozen prawns is evolving. While the size of the packaged frozen prawns segment in India is small at Rs300 crore and yet to mature, the fresh unpackaged segment is around Rs7,700 crore; prawns account for the majority of seafood exports from India, valued at around Rs22,000 crore. The total value of prawns cultivated in India is Rs30,000 crore, a bulk of which is exported.
“There is a huge opportunity to convert consumers of fresh and unpackaged prawns to the frozen super-safe prawns. ITC’s aim is to become a category creator in India and expand the market for freshly frozen prawns,” Sivakumar said while adding that domestic prawn consumption is growing at 14 per cent per annum.
Sivakumar said the objective was to create markets for products that have so far been defined by availability. “At a macro level, this chain can contribute to minimising the post-harvest wastages in agricultural produce,” he explained.
Following prawns, ITC
will foray into fruits and vegetables. “We are evaluating a number of vegetable and vegetable-based products as well as fruits. We are looking at both processed and fresh fruits and vegetables. This will address the challenge of enormous wastages of agri-produce in the country,” Sivakumar added.
The next set of launches will include potato and potato-based value-added products, dehydrated onions, mango pulp, tomato and tomato puree, among others. The aim is to venture into a new category every quarter.
be building a cold-chain infrastructure? “Our task in building the cold chain is ensuring the throughput. We will plug the gap wherever there is a gap,” Sivakumar said.
Typically, there are three elements in a cold chain — transportation, intermediate storage and retail stores. “Storage and transportation have developed and with the evolution of modern trade even the retail shelves have improved. The key lubricant now is to ensure throughput,” he added.