Given the large income disparities in the country, the only way a company can be truly successful is to address all the segments of the market and not restrict itself to a few consumer groups, according to Harish Manwani, non-executive chairman, Hindustan Lever.
Addressing the shareholders at its annual general meeting today, he said the company had a portfolio of products which enabled it to straddle the entire pyramid with offerings catering specifically to the needs and requirements of each segment.
Manwani elaborated on the key challenges facing companies such as HLL in the developing and emerging (D&E) markets such as India.
“D&E markets have overtaken developed markets as a priority source of revenue and profit,” he said and this is where companies needed to focus their growth plans.
While family-run stores were a large and important part of the Indian retail scenario, the emergence of modern trade resulted in more opportunities for FMCG marketers and it would continue to remain a challenge to cater to these markets without diluting the established links and intimacy with traditional retailers, he said.
Manwani also touched upon increasing focus on the nascent branded foods market in India and said that with 90 per cent of foods being bought in the unprocessed form in India, this provided a huge opportunity for companies to further develop this market.
Speaking about the company, Manwani said that the company would from time to time look at its portfolio and divest certain brands if need be.
He added that the company was evaluating opportunities in various other categories where it could either enhance its existing product portfolio or introduce brands from the Unilever portfolio.
“The priority however would continue to be upgrading our existing products (over introducing new ones),” said Manwani.
Commenting on the new initiatives, Manwani said that Pure It, its water venture, would be launched in a phased manner across the metros over a period of time, while Sangam Direct was expected to reach a turnover of just below Rs 200 crore this year.