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“To penetrate Indian mkt, be part of India,” says Grocermax co-founder
Tuesday, 19 September, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Prashant Nikale, Mumbai
International brands cannot claim to know how the market of this country works, unless they are here. To be a part of the Indian market, you should become a part of this country first. Only then will you will able to penetrate the Indian market.

This was stated K Radhakrishnan, co-founder, Grocermax, during a panel discussion titled Glocalisation: Changing Face of Indian Food Industry, which took place at the Lalit, Mumbai, and was a part of Annapoorna – World of Food India.

It was held in association with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Koelnmesse and supported by the Retailers Association of India (RAI). Anmol Bhandari, partner, Deloitte India, was the moderator.

Besides Radhakrishnan, the panellists included celebrity chef Harpal Singh Sokhi; Damodar Mall, chief executive officer, Reliance Retail; Ramesh Menon, chief executive officer, HyperCity Retail (India) Ltd; Sadashiv Nayak, chief executive officer, Big Bazaar, and Shitij Agrawaal, chief executive officer, Sahyadri Agro Retails Ltd.

Sokhi, the most travelled person on the panel, started the discussion, stating, “We should thank television for making it easy for people to understand different varieties of food from all over the world. It has brought a visible change in our day-to-day lives and introduced us to different ingredients.”

Radhakrishnan said, “Instead of finding new international markets retailers should focus on the Indian market. The future of the retail sector is going local with products.”

“The Indian food industry is changing, as Indian foods like rajma-chawal, instant poha, sabji mixes, etc., are being technologically processed. With global branding and technological processing, the Indian food industry has the potential to grow very well,” he added.

Explaining the changing food habits, Nayak said, “Globalisation is not just a western phenomenon. It is an exchange of ideas of food and food ingredients from one community to another.”
“There has been a change, but it didn’t take place overnight. It is still in its developing phase. To make this change happen, it is the duty of retailers to make available the things the customers want,” he added.

Mall said, “The aspirations of urban India are increasing day by day in the food sector. As there is an increasing number of women in the workforce and less time for cooking, they still want new tastes and flavours. The Indian kitchen is getting complicated, as they want new things to taste with a limited set of skills.”

Agrawaal said, “Farmers are a very important link in the processed food industry. We should educate them about good practices in food production and guide them on the effects of the fertilisers and chemicals which are used to increase the produce.”

“There is a sizeable market for organic produce like leafy vegetables. If we provide a standardised food product and assure food safety, consumers are ready to pay,” he added.

The panellists agreed that this was the best time to enter the Indian food industry, as the disposable incomes of Indian consumers are increasing, and they are willing to pay for good products.

There should be international norms for food products to provide good quality products. Food safety awareness should be spread among the consumers as well as the farmers.

The discussion concluded with the point that Indian market was still segmented. This provided more opportunity, as it was not a single market, but multiple markets with different product needs.

The role of modern retailers is to provide the customer what they want, where they want and how much they want with efficiency.

Bhandari proposed the vote of thanks on behalf of the organisation and felicitated the guests.
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