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INTERVIEW

“Escalating input costs tighten profit margins”
Monday, 11 September, 2023, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Godrej Tyson Foods offers great tasting, safe and affordable protein products through favourites like Real Good Chicken and Yummiez. It caters to India’s expanding food industry, quick service restaurants, and modern retailers.

Abhay Parnerkar, CEO, Godrej Tyson Foods, shares his views on the food and beverage industry, HoReCa, green packaging, challenges in the poultry business and more, in an email interview with Kimberley Almeida. Excerpts:


How has the competitive landscape of the food and beverage industry changed over the past few years?
In recent years, the food and beverage industry has experienced transformative shifts driven by changing consumer preferences, technological innovation, digitalisation, e-commerce growth, health and wellness emphasis, and increased focus on sustainability and social responsibility. Agility and adaptability are paramount for success in this dynamic landscape. Identifying emerging trends swiftly and fostering innovation are essential. The Direct-to-Consumer (DTC), channel has gained momentum as online food and beverage purchasing becomes more commonplace. Plant-based foods have surged due to heightened awareness of environmental and health advantages. Amid ongoing evolution, businesses must embrace change to stay competitive. At Godrej Tyson Foods,we recognise the importance of staying ahead of these developments and remaining customer-centric to ensure continued success in the market.


What are the different types of products offered by the company and which are most popular among consumers?
Godrej Tyson Foods is a key player in poultry processing, marketing, and sales, renowned for its brands 'Real Good Chicken' and 'Yummiez'. The extensive 'Yummiez' lineup features 50+ frozen ready-to-cook products, spanning both vegetarian and non-vegetarian offerings. Noteworthy non-veg options encompass chicken nuggets, sausages, and salami, while star veg products include Yummiez Potato Starz, French Fries, and Cheese Corn Nuggets. A protein-rich favourite, Real Good Chicken, caters to home dining and the HoReCa sector, offering tender and juicy choices in various cuts such as drumsticks, breast boneless, curry cuts, and more.

Tell us about the company’s HoReCa channel and target audience.
Real Good Chicken proudly serves a diverse clientele of more than 500 establishments within the HoReCa sector. The foundation of the brand's remarkable success thrives on its valuable partnerships with industry titans like KFC, McDonald's, Taj, Marriott, Compass, and Taj Sats, among other esteemed names. Among these, the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) chains form the cornerstone of Real Good Chicken's extensive customer base in the HoReCa sector.

Fundamentally, Real Good Chicken's eminent leadership within the HoReCa domain stems from a combination of its expansive market presence, unwavering commitment to exceptional quality, and strategic collaborations. These critical components synergise harmoniously to solidify its leading stance in the ever-evolving landscape of the foodservice industry.

Will you be moving towards green packaging alternatives, keeping in mind environmental concerns?
As a consumer-oriented company, we are aware of the increasing environmental concerns and the need for sustainable practices in the food industry. We are exploring ways to use less packaging, and we are also working to make our packaging more efficient. We believe that it is important to lead by example, and we are committed to doing our part to make the food industry more sustainable.

What are the key driving factors and challenges in the poultry business?
The poultry business is a dynamic and growing industry. The Indian poultry sector is expected to see a growth in revenue of around 10% in the current fiscal year fuelled by sustained demand, according to a report by CRISIL Ratings. The poultry industry is currently in a transformative phase, shaped by driving forces and challenges. One key driver is the rising global demand for poultry products, fueled by their affordability and protein content. This demand surge is propelled by shifting dietary preferences and a growing population seeking nutritious choices. Technological advancements play a significant role, enhancing breeding techniques, feed formulations, and production methods. These innovations bolster product quality and efficiency, aligning with demand and driving industry growth.

Globalisation further influences the industry as companies expand both locally and internationally. This expansion offers growth opportunities and innovation potential, though it also entails adapting to diverse market dynamics and regulations. Amidst these positive shifts, challenges emerge. Escalating input costs, including feed and energy, tighten profit margins and necessitate resource optimisation strategies. Addressing food safety concerns through rigorous quality control measures is imperative due to heightened consumer awareness.

Additionally, a growing focus on animal welfare calls for more humane treatment practices, reflecting evolving societal values. At Godrej Tyson Foods, we recognise these challenges in the industry but to ensure our continued success, we prioritise sustainable practices, maintain stringent quality standards, invest in technology and innovation, and respond proactively to evolving consumer preferences and regulatory landscapes. Moreover, the industry is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, and it is likely to remain a major source of protein for consumers around the world.

What was the last fiscal like and what are you looking forward to?
The fiscal year 2022-23, stands out as one of Godrej Tyson Foods most exceptional periods in terms of both financial achievements and operational excellence. Notably, the company achieved a remarkable 28% surge in its topline growth for the second consecutive year, a feat owed to robust volume performance within its branded categories. This success was propelled by a series of impactful new launches spanning these categories, synergised with a renewed dedication to brand cultivation and channel augmentation.

Among these branded categories, Real Good Chicken, emerged as a standout, marking a phenomenal volume growth of over 50% for the second consecutive year. This achievement was primarily attributed to vigorous sales in the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) and institutional segments. Expanding our horizons, we are eagerly poised to tap into the Northern India markets, adopting a two-pronged approach. The first avenue involves amplifying the presence of Real Good Chicken, while the second leverages the momentum of the burgeoning and ever-diversifying Godrej Yummiez product line.

Any plans for expansion and collaboration with local and foreign markets?
Our comprehensive market expansion strategy involves a harmonious blend of local and global collaborative endeavours. Within India, our market footprint extends across the vibrant domains of both B2C and B2B sectors. Although the recovery of the HoReCa segment following the Covid-19 pandemic necessitated some patience, our B2C sector encountered a remarkably swift resurgence. This revival prompted a transformative shift in the dynamics of the HoReCa market, which has since demonstrated unwavering strength. Our dominant presence in the southern and western regions of India has galvanised our ambition to cultivate growth within the untapped terrains of the northern and eastern sectors.
 
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