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INTERVIEW

“Key challenges include competition from international brands”
Monday, 08 July, 2024, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
In the last few decades, the Indian sauces and condiments market has grown immensely, poised at US$25.85 billion in 2022, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.34 per cent over the period from 2022 to 2027. One such brand that has been standing firm in the industry since 1949 is Paris Foods, based out of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, which has gained immense expertise in supplying & trading of Indian condiments over the years. From pickles, chutneys, squashes, canned fruits and vegetables, sauces and a plethora of other products in their portfolio, Paris Foods is growing exponentially with all the major hospitality businesses as their clientele.

Ashwani Maindola spoke with its founder Harpal S Gulati on various aspects of pickle industry and brand Martban. Excerpts:

How are you maintaining authenticity while adapting to modern tastes?
We maintain the authenticity of age-old family recipes by carefully preserving the traditional methods and ingredients passed down through generations. At the same time, the company innovates by incorporating modern flavours and ingredients that resonate with changing consumer preferences, thereby striking a balance between tradition and innovation.
   
Further, we prioritise sourcing ingredients locally to ensure freshness, support local farmers, and reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation. By establishing strong relationships with local farmers, the company not only ensures a sustainable and ethical supply chain but also contributes to the local economy.

How do you add innovation in flavour creation and balance tradition with health trends?
We address the rising demand for healthier options by carefully selecting natural ingredients, minimising additives, and exploring innovative preservation techniques that preserve traditional taste while meeting modern health standards.

For flavours, we draw inspiration from various sources such as regional cuisines, customer feedback, and market trends to create new pickle flavours and variations. By staying attuned to diverse consumer preferences, the company continues to innovate and introduce unique products that cater to a wide range of tastes.

How do you see competition and logistical challenges?
Our company sets itself apart from competitors by emphasising on its heritage, quality ingredients, unique flavour profiles, and commitment to customer satisfaction. The company focuses on creating a strong brand identity and building customer trust through consistent quality and innovation.

We face logistical challenges in ensuring timely delivery and maintaining product freshness, especially when dealing with perishable goods like pickles. To address this, the company invests in efficient logistics infrastructure, cold chain management, and robust quality control processes to deliver high-quality products to customers.

What is your market expansion & cultural tailoring plans and upcoming initiatives and innovations?
We adopt a strategic market expansion approach by customising products to suit diverse cultural preferences while maintaining its core values and flavours. By understanding local tastes and preferences, the company tailors its offerings to resonate with different regions and communities.

We are committed to reinforcing its industry position through continuous innovation, product diversification, and customer engagement initiatives. Expect new product launches, collaborations, and sustainability efforts aimed at further enhancing the brand's presence in the market.

How do you see the pickle industry growth and consumer preferences in India?
The pickle industry in India holds significant growth potential driven by evolving consumer preferences for authentic, natural, and healthy food options. As consumers become more health-conscious and seek transparency in food production, there is a growing demand for high-quality, artisanal pickles that offer unique flavours and nutritional benefits.

What is the industry response to health trends and transparency?
The pickle industry in India is adapting to the growing demand for healthier food options and increased transparency in ingredient sourcing and production processes by focusing on natural ingredients, organic certifications, and clear labelling practices. Brands are responding by offering a wider range of preservative-free, organic, and gourmet pickle options to cater to health-conscious consumers.

What are the challenges and opportunities in the next 5-10 Years for the pickle industry?
In the next 5-10 years, the pickle industry in India faces both challenges and opportunities. Key challenges include evolving consumer preferences towards healthier and natural food options, stringent regulatory requirements, increasing competition from international brands, and the need to adapt to changing market dynamics and technological advancements. To thrive in this evolving landscape, Indian pickle brands must focus on innovation, product differentiation, quality assurance, sustainability practices, and market diversification. Opportunities lie in catering to the growing demand for artisanal, gourmet, and healthy pickles, exploring export markets, embracing digitalisation and e-commerce, fostering collaborations with local farmers and suppliers, and investing in research and development to create unique flavours and products that resonate with diverse consumer segments. By proactively addressing these challenges and capitalising on emerging opportunities, the pickle industry in India can sustain growth, drive innovation, and maintain its position as a vibrant and dynamic sector in the food industry.
 
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