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FMCG major ITC is spicing up its food portfolio, with master chefs from its hotels curating different blends of spices for a premium range to be sold under the 'ITC Master Chef' brand. The company, which is pursuing to create world class brands by leveraging on enterprise strengths, is banking on spices sourced by its Agri Business division from different states, including Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. "We are focusing on blended spices through ITC Master Chef brand. This is one new segment on which we are working," ITC Foods Division Divisional Chief Executive Hemant Malik told PTI. Elaborating how the company has leveraged on its internal expertise, he said: "Master chefs from ITC Hotels have curated each spice blend. We are positioning it as a premium range considering the effort taken to develop the blends." The chefs decide on the ratios of condiments to get the right taste. A lot of effort has been put into developing the spice range with over 470 tests so that the product is compliant with not just Indian standards but also EU standards, he added. The company has launched ITC Master Chef super-safe spices in the capital.
It is promoting the brand as "super safe spices" through its communication in print, outdoor, radio and digital platforms. ITC's idea behind the spice blends is to celebrate the local cuisine and bringing alive the flavors and taste of North India. On the sourcing of the spices, Malik said the ingredients are sourced by ITC's Agri Business division from states, including Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The company is relying on its integrated pest management programme under which it has worked with farmers to produce crops that are compliant with not just Indian standards but also EU standards. The Kolkata-based firm, which has set a target of achieving Rs 1 lakh crore revenue from its FMCG business by 2030, is also expanding retail points of its luxury chocolate brand Fabelle and is targeting shop-in-shops. "Right now they are sold in hotels only but very soon we are trying to take it outside, such as malls," he said. ITC is also setting up new integrated factories for its food division and has completed some of them. "We have already started two units in West Bengal, one in Guwahati and by July or August this year our unit in Punjab should start and around same time one more unit in West Bengal would start," Malik said. ITC is also expanding its juice portfolio with an aim to garner around 20 per cent market share in five years in the packaged fruit juice segment, currently estimated to be around Rs 2,500-crore market. The company is adding new flavours and focusing on local fruits. It is also boosting its sales network to meet the target. When asked about the contribution of Food Division in ITC's total fold, Malik said: "In the FMCG space, ITC Food is the largest contributor". In FY16, ITC had a consolidated net sales were of Rs 39,066.85 crore, in which FMCG without cigarettes had contributed Rs 9,723.85 crore.
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