ITC Foods sees a bright future for its dairy and beverage segments, amid inflationary pressures. There is a ray of hope as the company predicts growth driven by various factors.

Amidst the ups and downs of market dynamics, ITC Foods, sees a bright future for its dairy and beverage segments. In the midst of a rollercoaster ride fueled by inflationary pressures, there is a ray of hope as the company predicts growth driven by various factors.

Sanjay Singal, the chief operating officer overseeing the dairy and beverages cluster of ITC Foods, delves into the intricacies of the sector’s dynamics in a recent interview with Moneycontrol. He sheds light on how recent developments, such as a bountiful dairy season and the onset of a scorching summer, are poised to stimulate demand.

Sanjay Singal, Chief-Operating Officer Dairy and Beverages, ITC Foods.

Reflecting on the shifting landscape of consumer preferences, Singal notes a significant uptick in demand for packaged milk, especially among rural consumers. This shift, he emphasizes, is not merely a matter of convenience but a conscious choice driven by concerns over quality and safety, particularly for children. Singal underscores the importance of consistent quality assurance measures, which include innovative approaches like ‘report cards’ that incentivize consumers to opt for premium packaged options.

Premiumization, a concept often associated with urban markets, is also making waves in rural areas, albeit in a nuanced manner. Singal elucidates how rural consumers are showing a willingness to shell out a few extra rupees for superior quality or features, indicative of an evolving mindset towards consumption.

When it comes to driving growth in the dairy and beverage segment, Singal highlights the success stories of ITC Foods, such as their milk-based smoothies and premium coconut water offerings under the ‘B Natural’ brand. These products, tailored to meet the demands of health-conscious urban consumers, have carved a niche in the market. Meanwhile, in rural landscapes, affordable yet flavorful options like pouch-packed lassis cater to local tastes and budgets, particularly during sweltering summers.

Singal also emphasizes the pivotal role of digital technology in ensuring transparency and quality across the supply chain. From engaging with farmers through dedicated apps to introducing QR-coded milk packets and traceable organic ghee, ITC Foods is leveraging technology to bolster consumer trust and address evolving preferences.

As the conversation shifts towards market dynamics, Singal acknowledges the impact of inflation, particularly in the dairy sector. However, he remains optimistic about the current cycle, which appears more favorable, signaling a potentially better year ahead for dairy companies.

Looking ahead, Singal discusses the potential implications of national elections on consumer demand, hinting at strategic initiatives like setting up special stalls during events to cater to consumer preferences. In conclusion, Singal paints a cautiously optimistic picture for the dairy and beverage segment, banking on a promising summer and a growing inclination towards natural and healthier product offerings. With concerted efforts towards rural distribution and a keen eye on market trends, ITC Foods is poised to navigate through the challenges and capitalize on emerging opportunities in the quarters to come.

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