ITC’s food division has made its presence felt across the branded packaged foods segment with several of its brands garnering significant market share. But with veteran rival brands putting up a tough fight and local brands snapping at its heels, the journey ahead may not be as smooth
When ITC started selling packaged foods products in 2001, few would have thought that the food division would one day become a Rs.4000-crore-plus business. Growing at a rate of 20% annually, today ITC’s foods division makes a range of packaged food products, from instant noodles to biscuits to ready-to-eat meals to staples. Its biggest success perhaps has been in the biscuits category. According to market estimates, the overall size of the biscuit category is about R20,000 crore, and ITC is third in place right after market leaders Britannia and Parle, with about 11% market share. In August this year, ITC became the leader in the cream biscuits category, surpassing players such as Britannia, with 25% market share. The size of the cream biscuit segment is around R5000-6000 crore. Under the mother brand Sunfeast, the company has a slew of biscuit brands — Sunfeast Milky Magic, Marie Light, Dark Fantasy, Glucose, Dream Cream and many more. In 2010, the company entered the R2000-3000-crore instant noodles category where Nestle’s Maggi had ruled for decades, with its Sunfeast Yippee! brand and soon cornered a 10% share. It has also garnered a foothold in the R200-crore nascent instant pasta market with its Sunfeast Pasta Treat brand garnering a share of 12.5%. The division enjoys a strong presence in the ready-to-eat category with its Kitchens-of-India brand and in the staples segment with Aashirvaad atta and multi-grain atta. One of its first launches, Aashirvaad atta, today has a market share of 30% in the R6000-7000-crore branded staples category. Under the Aashirvaad umbrella, the company has launched a range of instant mixes, ready meals and spices. In the confectionery segment, ITC Foods has Candyman, mint-o, Toffichoo, etc. In the R5000-crore savoury snack segment, its Bingo! brand with several variants under its belt has managed to get 12% market share within four years of its launch.
Known as the Indian Tobacco Company Limited at the turn of the century, ITC has indeed come a long way. Who would have thought a company popular for manufacturing cigarettes would one day enter the branded packaged food business and turn it into one of