Adani Wilmar Limited is firm on its belief of embarking on research-led innovations at regular intervals. Be it the company’s unique rice bran oil or its recently introduced brand for diabetes care VIVO, both the initiatives aim to promote a healthy lifestyle among customers, says TK Kannan, CEO, Adani Wilmar Limited, in an interview with Poulami Chakraborty of Elets News Network (ENN).
Please elaborate on the journey of Fortune as a premium food brand in India.
Fortune has become India’s top cooking oil brand – a feat it accomplished in just 22 months of its launch in 2000, and has retained its position ever since. This rapid acceleration was achieved by a string of strategic moves that disrupted conventional thinking and rewrote the rules for the category. Today, through more than 40 units spread across the country, the brand reaches 30 million households and sells through one million retail outlets. To consolidate its status in the Indian kitchen, Fortune has now launched several staples and pulses – each bearing its stamp of excellence.
What is your opinion about the food and public distribution sector in India?
The food and public distribution sector is playing a very critical role in India in ensuring food security through timely and efficient procurement and distribution of food grains. It is encouraging to see the reach of this sector among the masses. However, instances of hunger are prevalent despite overflowing granaries. As an FMCG firm, we have always tried to reach each and every consumer with superior quality products at affordable prices.
What are the key challenges you have faced in the Indian food market?
Since the time of our inception and foray into the edible oil sector, it has been quite challenging for us to educate the consumers about the benefits of buying branded products. India is a huge market and we still find huge difference between packed and loose products, which in turn usually results in unhygienic, substandard and adulterated products.
Another key challenge is competing with various brands at regional level that do not follow proper taxation norms, FSSAI requirements, etc, which in turn makes them cheaper compared to us. In such situations, we have held to our commitment of serving our consumers with quality products. Moreover, there is an inconsistent supply of domestic oils and to cope with that is extremely critical.
Elaborate on the scope of growth for the Fortune brand in the next five years in India?
The company is firm in its belief of embarking on research-led innovations at regular intervals. Be it our unique rice bran oil or our recently introduced brand for diabetes care VIVO, both the initiatives aim to enhance the healthy lifestyle of customers. With the introduction of these innovative brands, the company promises to continue progressing on the path of research-based innovative concepts. For us, well-being of people is of utmost importance and, therefore, we adhere to stringent quality norms and ensure products that are at par with quality standards. One of our food products, besan, is made up of 100 per cent chana dal and gives testimony of our commitment to quality.
What are the market expansion plans in pipeline for Fortune and Adani Wilmar?
The company has a strong inclination towards entering into the gamut of the essential food products that are used in the Indian kitchens. From just an oil company, we are successfully moving towards becoming a food company by launching rice, besan and soya nuggets.
In oil, we have introduced a variety of healthy oil brands like Fortune Rice bran Health and Fortune Vivo, which have been specially created for diabetic care. Further, we also have plan to launch wheat flour and are simultaneously working on to bring blended oils into the market very soon. At Adani Wilmar, we always strive to live up to our promise of creating ‘A Healthy Growing Nation’ and embark on various initiatives for the ever-changing consumer expectations.
In oil, we have introduced a variety of healthy oil brands like Fortune Rice bran Health and Fortune Vivo, which have been specially created for diabetic care. Further, we also have plan to launch wheat flour and are simultaneously working on to bring blended oils into the market very soon.
The Government of India has adopted the ‘Digital India’ initiative as a key project to promote digitisation. Would you share with us, if you are also contributing to this?
It is evident that digitisation is the key to success. It is extremely crucial to match your speed with the changing time and digitisation helps you to do that. We keep ourselves aligned with the market trend and simultaneously keep our eyes open to the changing consumer trends. This has been possible due to digitisation. Our Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy helps in developing a better understanding of the existing business structure and its relevance to new products. It also identifies capability gaps across the chain.
We are the first to introduce this technology in the edible oil industry in India. An optimum use of technology is made under the GTM strategy by recently rolling out SFA and DMS technology across 40 cities in the country. The plans are afoot to cover 40 cities in next three months.