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‘We Don’t Enter A Segment Where We Cannot Be A Leader’
Oliver Mirza, MD & CEO, Dr. Oetker India, talks to BW Businessworld’s Anuradha Shukla about the company’s new retail focus, its future business strategy and entry into new segments
Photo Credit : Tarun Gupta
In 2008, when German packaged food company Dr. Oetker India acquired Fun Foods, the turnover was merely Rs 28 crore. In about eight years of its operation, the turnover has increased to Rs 120 crore. Even as the company is looking to achieve a turnover of Rs 1000 crore by 2020, Oliver Mirza, MD & CEO, Dr. Oetker India, talks to BW Businessworld’s Anuradha Shukla about the company’s new retail focus, its future business strategy and entry into new segments.
The Funfood brand has really worked for the company. Do you plan to acquire similar brands?
The acquisition has really worked well with us and right now our focus is to consolidate the existing brand. We are not a company that aggressively chases numbers. We believe in organic growth. There is more headroom for growth in the existing categories. We aim to achieve a turnover of Rs 500 crore by the year 2020 with Fun Foods.
Which are the segments the company is focusing on?
In India, mayonnaise, sauce, peanut butters, salad dressings, which we call the pleasure food segment, are really doing well. The urban India is really exposed to Western cuisine and are ready to experiment with Western flavours. Pizzaa and pastas are now very much part of the Indian cuisine which they have customised as per the Indian palate.
Modern retail outlets are further pushing the growth as customers are now asking for pizza and pasta sauce, peanut butter and salad dressings, which were earlier confined to large food outlets and hotel chains. We see maximum growth coming from this segment, especially from mayonnaise and peanut butter, which witnessed a growth of 23 per cent last year in India. Even peanut butter is a fast growing category and that is the reason we are soon going to launch another flavour of peanut butter by the end of this month, which will be as per the Indian palate. We do a lot of research before launching a flavour.
So what lessons have you learnt from the Indian market?
While people are asking for international flavours, it must be customised to suit the Indian palate. We have a huge product portfolio but we do not launch everything in the Indian market. We are careful while choosing products that can go well with the urban consumer. That is the reason India is the only country where Dr Oetker has introduced vegetarian mayonnaise. We have only one egg variant.
You exited the muesli segment. What was the reason for it?
We focus on a segment where we can grow to become the market leader. We do not enter a segment where we cannot be a market leader. At present, we are the leader in the mayonnaise segment. It was for the same reason we did not enter the cornflakes segment and did not hesitate to exit the muesli segment and the frozen pizza segment.
By next year, we will be re-entering the muesli market and will introduce the crunchy muesli. The category is not present so far in the Indian market, and there we expect to see growth.
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