July 21, 2021 01:33 PM
To begin with, the company in the past year has launched frozen vegetables such as peas, tinda and parwal under the Farmland brand. It has also launched frozen shrimps under Kitchens of India. “The agri-business is the source of competitive advantage for our food business,” points out Sanjiv Puri, Chairman and MD, ITC.
Agri business aivision’s head S Sivakumar (group head, agri and IT), is confident that given the company’s agricultural expertise, their value-added products are best-in-class. “We make sure the crop is harvested at the right time and is frozen in 4-14 hours, so the freshness is sealed.
Frozen peas are available in the market, but by the time you open the pack and rehydrate for usage in the kitchen, the outer layer comes off. There is a particular time you should freeze so the sweetness is preserved and when you re-hydrate, the product is just like using fresh,”.
Though frozen vegetables and shrimps are the most obvious forms of value-addition, the company is also investing in offering value-added commodities. So, the characteristic of wheat that goes into atta from which we make rotis is quite different from the wheat that goes into making biscuits or even pizza base and burger buns.
ITC’s agri business division, which supplies wheat and other commodities to a host of food brands and quick service restaurants, sees a huge business potential in specialised wheat and other commodities. “Many manufacturers find it difficult to source these specific kinds of wheat. MNC are importing in order to maintain consistency,” explains Sivakumar.
“When it comes to value-added business, in addition to the value that we add to our own FMCG business, it will also help in bringing more stability to the business and expand the margin profile of the agri business division, which is otherwise a commodity business,”.