A post graduate from Symbiosis Center for Management and Human Resource Development, Pune, Lisa Suwal hails from the family of leading meat purveyors in the country – Prasuma. Growing up in a family involved in delicatessen business for over 30 years, she has always been exposed to the nitty-gritty of the business and the art of making good food. A young and seasoned marketer, she is known for her innovative approach towards brands and alluring business perspective.
Gaining the outer world experience and understanding the key challenges faced by the unorganized meat industry, Lisa joined Prasuma in 2017. Her sheer perseverance and cognitive approach helped her in building a formal business structure and streamlining the processes which are the major challenges faced by any family business. Right from the beginning, she spearheaded in all areas of the business –from store to floor to an overall brand level. Determined to not let Prasuma become just another meat brand, she pays special attention to quality and the packaging of the products. All the products are vacuum skin packaged using barrier films imported from New Zealand which is considered to be the best in the world.
Lisa Suwal, Vice President - Marketing and Sales of Prasuma, tells Restaurant India about the strategies she has implemented in staying ahead in the industry segment.
Journey Prior to Prasuma
Prior to my journey with Prasuma, I was working with L’Oreal for six years. I started as a summer intern and joined Mirang where I handled big brands like Maybelline, Garnier, etc. My key responsibility was to manage the sales and marketing of the brand. I had also tried my hand at digital marketing and new product development.
Three Key Learnings in Marketing and Sales in the Food Industry
The three key learnings for me in marketing and sales are:
Providing quality over everything else is the key to success!
If I have to identify one reason for the success and popularity of our brand Prasuma among consumers, it would be quality over anything else. Even though we have never done any ATL marketing activities in history, the brand today is known for pioneering the Fresh & Chilled Deli Segment. While rest of the brands continue to focus on frozen cold cuts, we ensure all our products contain only meat and no fillers (a tactic to reduce costs) and use the best premium antibiotic and hormone-free meats even before this became a safety parameter in India.
Innovation is Critical
In the much-cluttered food space, innovation is the way to stand out! At Prasuma, every quarter, we launch 2-3 new products. We constantly change our products, packaging and recipes to ensure customers should get the best and we remain in sync with the evolving tastes of our customers. The food industry is saturated but identifying new trends and food habits which enable us to continue innovating new products.
Partners and Consumer Relations
The food industry has a very complex structure today. We continue to understand our partners through the processing chain, right from our farms to the retail companies along with the staff which is absolutely critical as they are the ultimate ambassadors of the brand.
Customers and Partners
Prasuma is the number one brand and pioneer in fresh and chilled deli meat segments in India. We started with chilled and deli meats and now are among the top brands across all retail outlets in this segment. Our consumers and partners are Nature’s Basket, Food Hall, Spencer's, Hyper City, Walmart, Big Bazaar, SPAR along with international brands like Pizza Express, IHOP, Jimmy’s Pizzeria, Chili’s, Pizza Hut and over 500 restaurants all across India.
Key Challenges When Starting Out Prasuma as a Brand
Challenge is being in the fresh deli meat segment. The fresh and chilled meat is a different ball game altogether. Here you need to have accurate infrastructure right from sourcing of the material till the time it reaches the store. The supply, processing and sourcing need to be perfect so that the consumers get the best quality product.
To overcome the challenges, Prasuma has state of the art processing unit facility at Manesar in Gurugram, which is completely ISO certified. We are equipped with the latest German technology. In terms of chicken which comes from big sourcing facility and for pork we have our own integration with farmers who were taught to raise the right kind of pork, to get the best quality product. Without good ingredients, one can never get a good quality product. We also have our own distribution hubs in all four major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru. We make sure to store the product at the right temperature and supply at the right time.
Promotion Strategy with Prasuma Products
For the promotional activity, we focus more on digital marketing and prefer to do a lot of videos on how to use and consume the products. In India, people are not aware of such kind of products compare to sausages, salami, bacon which are part of an everyday meal. It is best to educate people about the right quality and usage of products, how to store and consume them. We advertise our products online and most promotions are in-store which talks about Hormone and Antibiotic Residue-Free meat through cooking and recipe videos.
Staying Ahead of Competitors
The strategies we implement to stay ahead of our competitors are the innovation of products at every step and provide the best quality with no compromise. We believe in staying in touch with the customers and their taste profile.
Our product quality has always remained consistent, and that’s a big reason for our steady growth. We focus on constant innovation of the products. Our main focus is on the institutional range for sausages, bacon, ham respectively which are good quality products and come at an affordable price for the hotels and restaurants. We have got a lot of queries and we are planning to launch a perfect range for the hospitality industry.
Have a lot of exciting expansion plans, one of which is growing in the retail market and increase our presence in the hotel industry. There are ready-to-eat products which we are planning to launch, for which we will talk about in due time.
Peak Business Season
The peak business season for us is winters from November to January and slowest is the quarter from April to June.