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BW Businessworld

'I Want To Build Highest Quality ‘Pleasure Food’ For Indian Consumer': Oliver Mirza

Leveraging its European heritage, Dr. Oetker India, a retail market leader in western sauces and spreads categories here, has forayed into 'Cake' category. Oliver Mirza, MD & CEO Indian Subcontinent - Dr. Oetker India talks about the recent foray, what it takes to build enduring brands among a host of issues with ASHISH SINHA of BW Businessworld. Excerpts:

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What does it take to build enduring businesses and brands? What’s the recipe for Dr Oetker’s success in India?

Consumer centricity is at the heart of every successful business. You need to understand the consumer, their mindset, their culture, their needs and tailor products to them rather than simply launch products that may not be relevant to the consumer. We believe our consumer looks for international quality and taste experience customized to their pallet bundled at an attractive price point and that is just what we offer.

How did you manage during the pandemic and what are the plans post-pandemic?

We had two simple objectives during the pandemic. One: The health and safety of our people and Two: Ensuring our consumers found their favourite brand on the shelf. For the first we put in place stringent sops and set up a central crisis committee that was available 24x7. For the second objective, we owe a big thank you to our team and all our business partners who went above and beyond to keep the supply chain functioning and ensure the availability of products on retail shelves. Our endeavour was to support the retailers, so we introduced a toll-free number and an exclusive app to place orders. We also reached retail outlets via B2B platforms like Udaan and Gram Factory.

Tell us more about the acquisition of Kuppies and how will this strengthen the portfolio of the company? What is the acquisition amount?

Our agreement with Spycy Fast Food, an innovative cakes and desserts start-up based out of Noida, to acquire their manufacturing hub, innovation center, and the Kuppies Brand is in line with our global strategic growth pillars. This acquisition will allow us to create more cakes/desserts moments for more consumers while expanding our product portfolio in the fast-evolving Cake & Dessert category which constitutes 50% of our global portfolio.
Spycy is the leading cake partner for brands such as Café Coffee Day, Keventers, Krispy Kreme, FreshMenu, Sweet Truth, Slay Café, and many more.

With our heritage of European cakes and baking expertise, this acquisition complements our mission of building new categories of highest quality ‘pleasure food’ for consumers in India. We are excited to present Indian consumers with a range of innovative and exciting eggless offerings that match the

taste experience of European cakes, such as dark choco-chip brownie, peanut butter brownie, red velvet brownie, etc. in India, we plan to quickly scale up the new business and hope to grow this vertical to about 300crs in the next 5-7 years. With regards to the deal value, the two parties have agreed not to disclose the financial details of this transaction.

Tell us about the company’s future plans and where all you plan to increase the footprint in India? Which are your priority markets?

We are on a mission to build categories of the highest quality ‘pleasure food’ for the Indian consumer. As a legacy brand since 1891 with a European heritage, we are committed to offering products that match the taste experience of Europe, yet customized to the Indian pallet, under the brand umbrella of Dr. Oetker. Today, our brand FunFoods by Dr. Oetker is already a leader in mayonnaise, spreads, and Italian sauces in the Indian market and we will continue to build this category with innovative offerings basis our understanding of the consumer.

Additionally, in line with the global strategic growth pillars, we are now strengthening our presence in the Cake and Dessert category. We have already launched freshly baked Belgian Waffles in 6 variants in the retail space and we are now launching eggless pound cakes and brownies, all very innovative and exciting offerings. We plan to be a part of the entire consumer journey in the ecosystem of cakes and will continue working towards this.

We continue to be committed to growth and investments in India which remains an exceptionally important market for us.

What is the greatest market opportunity you see with the acquisition?

Having successfully established a leadership position in western sauces and spreads in India, we were looking for our next growth engine in line with Dr. Oetker’s global pillar of cake and dessert category. Basis the extensive consumer research we have conducted globally with BCG across 11 countries and also the India research across metros, we see a growth potential in the Indian market which BCG estimates will grow at 36%. There is an opportunity gap in the Indian market for ‘small treats’ which is where we are positioning ourselves with the launch of innovative cakes that satisfy the consumer need for a European taste experience for those special ‘’Me’’ moments. With this acquisition we found a scalable platform to offer ready-to-eat cakes based on eggless artisanal recipes which deliver exceptional quality and matchless taste. We believe there is significant headroom for growing the ready-to-eat cakes category in India with such a differentiated product offering. With our European heritage and cake legacy, together with our national retail and B2B distribution network in India, we plan to quickly scale up the new business.

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fmcg Oliver Mirza Dr. Oetker India