European pickles for desi palates

Short Description
Revealing future moves of the company, Vinod Gaekwad, Business Head, Reitzel Speciality Foods Pvt Ltd. spoke to Restaurant India.
  • Sunil Pol
Restaurant India

Switzerland based pickles and gherkins maker Reitzel which launched the brand Hugo Reitzel for trial and experimentation in 2013 in India for studying the market have launched its pickles, jalapenos, baby corn and gherkins. After sourcing the gherkins from the Indian market for 20 years the company has decided to venture into the Indian markets aggressively while strategizing to come up with the more premium yet innovative products like mustard sauce, mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, salad dressings and chutneys for the experimenting Indian consumers. 

What inspired Reitzel to launch European pickles, jalapenos, baby corn and gherkins in India? 

When we launched the brand Hugo Reitzel in April 2013, which was more of trials and experimentation, we studied in detail about the market in India and observed that the growth of modern trade, growing number of expat population and growing exposure to the foreign cuisines by the Indians travelling abroad has led to the acceptance of European food (pickles) among Indians. Also, with growing modern trade in India we have seen that lot of foreign food brands coming to India following this we decided to get into the Indian market aggressively.

In addition to this which new products you are planning to launch?

In addition to this we will be launching mustard sauce, mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, salad dressings imported from our group of companies based in Switzerland and France in the next one and half year. We will also get into some of the innovative products tasting like chutneys but it will have the base of gherkins and jalapenos.

While desi pickles dominate the Indian market how do you see the acceptance for European pickles and gherkins?

Indian consumers always feel that the imported are the alien products but when they taste and try it then they realize that it also suits their taste. We make everything pasteurized and pasteurized is the healthiest food option for the consumer because of the low microbial activity, low salt, low oil, low spices, low acidity everything is mild and that’s a healthier option.

What it the total investment you have done to build the brand in India?

In addition to Rs 100+cr investment allocated for the manufacturing in Kunigal, Karnataka we are planning to add more Rs 30cr - 40cr in the Indian market. Out of this Rs 30cr will go into the enhancing the capacity of our manufacturing setup and another 8 - 10cr will go into the new product development, advertising, marketing, consumer awareness, POP (point of purchase) communication and visual material activity, and  consumer connect programme.

What is your retail presence in India?

Presently we are available in 500+ retail outlets, onboard with Subway and 1000 outlets of Domino’s. Also we are in talks with McDonald’s, Burger King, Johny Rockets, Pizza Hut, and Wendy’s among other QSRs and will struck deal with them by the end of this year. Further we are targeting to reach 3000 outlets, almost top 50 percent key food service accounts (QSR) and 100 percent of the premium outlets like Natures Basket, Spencer’s and Hypercity with the price range of our products starting from Rs 100 to Rs 300.

We are also available at Big Basket and Amazon. Therefore, we are looking at Snapdeal and other leading etailers. Our products wouldn’t be available at discounted price online. Initially we are not targeting huge revenue from e-Commerce instead just 2-3 percent of revenue.

Which is your top revenue generating region?

Metros like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolakta and Delhi contribute 70 percent of the demand followed by mini metros like Pune, Madurai, Pondicherry, Coimbatore, Gurgaon, Noida accounts for the rest 30 percent. Primarily the demand is driven by the expats population in metros and mini metros and SSC A++ population of India.

Further we would supply to tier II and III towns while targeting SSC A++ population and expats between 25 to 35 age group exposed to global cuisines and residing in metros, tier I and II cities and.

How do you promote and marketise your products?

Point of purchase visibility, consumer awareness interaction activity, sampling, and chef promotion are the activities we will follow.

What is the total size of the pickles and gherkins category in India?

The category is close to Rs 250– Rs 300 cr in India and is growing by 20-25 percent CAGR. By 2020 it should be at least double. We are determined to take about 50+ percent share of the category in the coming three to five years.

What is your current revenue?

As far as the group is concerned our revenue is close to Rs 1500cr annually and India operation which has just started contributes mere close to Rs 1cr of share. 

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European pickles for desi palates
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