G D Foods, the manufacturers and promoters of the Tops brand of processed food items, will invest almost Rs 450 million in its new and existing manufacturing plants.
The investment kitty includes Rs 300 million to be pumped into the 30-acre greenfield facility in Uttarakhand, G D Foods Managing Director Nitin Seth told Business Standard in Lucknow, adding that the new plant would start production from March 2019 and be gradually scaled up to full capacity.
Further, fresh investment will also be made in existing facilities located in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan.
G D Foods is expanding its coarse cereals portfolio to cater to growing demand from health-conscious consumers. "We have introduced a range of food items made from maize, oats, soybeans, etc, since there is growing demand for such high protein and healthier products," Seth said, adding that more such products were in the pipeline.
Coarse cereals require lesser water and have lower farm input costs, as such they are more economical compared to other cash crops such as wheat and paddy. Therefore, the Yogi Adityanath government in UP has also been encouraging farmers to cultivate coarse cereals, including maize, jowar, bajra (millets) and jau (barley), by offering subsidies on seeds and other support. At present, the area under these four coarse cereals stands at roughly 2 million hectares (MH), or 9.75 per cent, out of the total 20.5 MH of cultivated area in the state.
In UP, the production of maize, jowar, millets and barley during 2016-17 stood at 4.7 million tonnes (mt), or a little under nine per cent of the total food grain production of 55.7 mt. Earlier, coarse cereals were extensively grown in UP. However, after the Green Revolution, paddy and wheat became the principal cash crops, while the cultivation of traditional crops receded to the background.
G D Foods has over 200 products in its portfolio, including jam, ketchup, pickle, noodles, instant mixes and custards, etc. It ranks as the third-largest processed food company in the country. It sells its products through omni channels, comprising traditional retail, modern retail format and e-commerce. It is also aggressively pushing the hotels, restaurants and caterers (HORECA) route with new product ranges and packaging.
"We are eyeing a turnover of more than Rs 3 billion in the current financial year, up from Rs 2.7 billion in 2017-18," Seth informed. The company directly exports to about 25 countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Mauritius and Switzerland.
"UP is our largest market and contributes roughly 30 per cent of our topline revenues across different segments," he added.
The company procures farm produce from across the country for processing. In Punjab, it sources farm inputs through contract farming. "From UP, we procure 80 per cent of mango for pickles, apart from green chilly, wheat flour, etc," he added.