ITC to take on Nestle, PepsiCo, Amul and HUL with dairy products, non-carbonated drinks

Thursday, 27 February 2014 01:11 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

KOLKATA: ITC is firming up plans to foray into non-carbonated beverages and dairy businesses next fiscal to establish itself as one of the largest food companies in the country, a senior industry executive aware of the company’s plans said. The Kolkata-based tobacco-to-hospitality conglomerate is developing products in categories such as juices, tea and coffee in the noncarbonated beverage space, while its ambitious dairy business rollout will include products such as packaged milk, butter and ghee, to take on category leaders such as Nestle, PepsiCo, Amul, Hindustan Unilever and Dabur, the executive said. The company also plans to soon start scientific trials on functional foods — a pet focus area of its chairman YC Deveshwar — addressing various metabolic disorders such as blood pressure, diabetes and nutritional deficiency. “ITC is on the job on developing several new products for these categories which will be rolled out in a phased manner from next fiscal,” the executive said, requesting anonymity. The new products are developed in the company’s food research unit at Bangalore. Market watchers say ITC has carved out its niche in the food space and can give tough competition in the beverage and dairy space to big marketers operating in the space. ITC’s food business clocked Rs 4,720-crore sales last fiscal, 27% more than the previous year’s Rs 3,712 crore. Mohit Kampani, president and CEO at Spencer’s Retail, said ITC has found a differentiated proposition with fairly unique products and customer marketing skills even in highly penetrated categories such as biscuits. Successful examples include a Rs 5 pack of instant noodles and unique packaging for Dark Fantasy biscuits, he said. Last fiscal, ITC overtook HULBSE 0.14 % in branded food and beverage sales a decade after it entered the business.