Fritolay, the snacks division of PepsiCo, will soon introduce low-fat namkeens (salty snacks) in keeping with the growing health awareness in the country.
Speaking to Business Line here, Mr Manu Anand, Managing Director, FritoLay Division, Pepsico India Holdings Pvt Ltd, said the company was committed to healthy snacks but not at the cost of taste, and so would go slow before it put out such products.
FritoLay recently introduced a low-fat version of Lays potato chips called Lay Stax, made from reconstituted potato flakes, which are available only in select outlets, he said.
Mr Anand said the company's biggest markets are the North and the West. It is consolidating business in the South with its three big brands Lays, Cheetos and Kurkure. The company is stepping up distribution in the region from 50,000 to 1.8 lakh outlets. FritoLay will look at setting up a plant in southern India depending on demand and only after putting an agri-programme in place for its procurement needs, which could take up to three years. It has just launched a new variant in Kurkure, called Hyderabadi Tamatar, to appeal to southern palates.
FritoLay, which recently launched Quaker Oats in India, could look beyond salty snacks and ready-to-eat products if it detected enough potential, Mr Anand said.
The company, which earlier this year set up a plant in West Bengal, is undertaking major expansion in its Pune and Punjab plants over the next 12 months. The total capacity will go up to 80,000 tonnes annually from the current 60,000.
Mr Anand says FritoLay is the largest player in the Rs 1,800-crore organised salty snack market.
The company's market share would be between 40 and 50 per cent, he claimed. However, two-thirds of the salty snacks market is made up of players in the regional and unorganised segment, he said.
On the use of celebrities to endorse the brand, he said the company could look at using regional stars to extend the connect but that it was a question of scale. Actor Saif Ali Khan is the main brand ambassador. The company recently made two TV commercials, which featured the actor, targeted at Tamil Nadu and West Bengal and made in the local idiom.