Hindustan Lever Network, the direct-selling division of HLL, has made an entry into the foods category by launching its own brand, Indus Valley. At present, the Indus Valley brand comprises food products such as basmati rice and ready-to-eat rice dishes in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.
Mr K.K. Rajesh, Business Head, HLL Network, said, "There was demand from our network consultants to enter the foods category."
While its basmati rice has been pegged at Rs 150 for 2 kg, the ready-to-eat variants are priced between Rs 55 and Rs 60 and comprise variants such as chicken biryani, dal khitchdi and vegetable pulao.
HLL Network sells home and personal product brands such as Aviance, Lever Ayush, Denim Xclusive and Lever Home. In fact, most of the Indian direct-selling companies have skewed their offerings towards home and personal care products, with foods comprising a relatively smaller proportion of their portfolio.
Explaining the rationale behind this trend, Mr Rajesh said, "The degree of differentiation is not as much with foods since the category is already commoditised. In the case of home and personal care products, however, there are strong differentiating propositions. We will build the foods category slowly and in the next three years hope to have significant revenues from the foods business." In fact, India is the first country where HLL has introduced foods as part of its direct-selling initiative.
The Indus Valley brand will be manufactured at the company's own manufacturing facilities. "There will be many more food forms from Indus Valley, and this brand marks our big-time foray into foods," added Mr Rajesh.