Heinz India looks to focus on core brands, buy local food firms to boost business

The US-based food processing company HJ Heinz Co is looking to focus on its core brands and acquire local food companies in India, as part of its strategy to grab a large chunk of business from the South Asian country, The Economic Times reported citing a senior executive of the company. 

Heinz, which is known for its flagship health drink Complan, is also aiming to reposition the brand to bolster its business in India. Currently, Complan accounts for over 60 per cent of Indian arm’s Rs 1,400 crore sales.  

“When we visited the market a few months ago, we found out that over 45% of the Complan bought were consumed by adults. Hence, we are now positioning the brand for the entire family and even done away with kids’ picture on the pack," Heinz India managing director Seema Modi told the newspaper. Modi became Heinz India’s first woman MD in July 2012.

GlaxoSmithKline's brands Horlicks and Boost control the milk-based health beverage market with over 65 per cent share, while Complan has a share of just around 20 per cent. 

In the fiscal ended March 31, 2013, Heinz India’s business grew 7.9 per cent with sales of Rs 1,366.3 crore. Though, the company managed to increase market share of its two major brands Complan and Glucon-D by around 1 per cent since then, the smaller food business of the company like muesli, biscuits and south Indian mixes contributed to less than 5 per cent to its portfolio.

However, India is still one of the top emerging markets for investments along with China and Indonesia. Currently, the US-based company gets almost a quarter of its total revenue of $12 billion from markets like China, India, Indonesia, Russia and Brazil.  

Heinz entered in India in 1994 and has strong portfolio of products like Complan, Glucon-D, Nycil (prickly heat powder), and Sampriti Ghee, apart from its iconic Heinz Tomato Ketchup.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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