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ITC Foods aims to lead the premium jam segment

14-February-2005
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ITC Foods aims to lead the premium jam segment

The high end jams or conserves, which were driven by imported products like Tiffy's and St Dalfour, will now face an aggressive Indian competitor. ITC Limited - Foods business, which recently entered this segment with its latest offering "Kitchens of India Fruit and Spice Conserves," has charted out interesting strategies to tap this nascent segment.

"We aim to target the discerning consumer by offering a unique product concept -- fruit and spice conserve. Kitchens of India will be targeting the consumers using a focused media activity, an extensive consumer contact activity and by placement at the right outlets," said Ravi Naware, Divisional Chief Executive, ITC Limited - Foods Division. In fact, ITC Foods has an edge over others, he said, adding, "Conserves is a nascent but growing category currently driven by imported products. However, with imported products, old code date stocks are always an issue."

Interestingly, the company has blended spices with fruits to cater to the Indian taste. The initial offerings from Kitchens of India Fruit and Spice conserves are four flavours-Plum and Star Anise, Pineapple and Green Pepper, Apple and Cinnamon, Strawberry and Mint. Asked on the selection of flavours, he said, "Kitchens of India master chefs were involved in the development of products and it's their experience that has gone into the concept's development. "We employ a very robust process of researching, testing and evaluating our products involving master chefs of ITC Hotels and a diversified panel of consumers," Naware added.

The company is promoting the product tactically and focusing more on BTL. "We adopted a very unique strategy by launching it through the gifting route during the gifting season. This helped us immensely by creating excitement and expectation around the product."

"The traditional media, primarily print, is also being targeted. We are targeting lifestyle, travel and food magazines along with a few mainstream publications to communicate our offer," he said. The company has also created a unique Conserves Recipes Booklet, which is being distributed with the February issue of Good Housekeeping. So is the company also looking at tie-ups to promote conserves? "We usually use one of our own products or brands for promoting new products. We also leverage group synergies by involving ITC Hotels or Wills Lifestyle in promoting our products," he said.

Asked if the company faced a problem dealing with the awareness levels of conserves in Indian market, he said, "As far as the upper end consumer is concerned, awareness of premium jams/conserves/preserves is not an issue, thanks to the changing demographics and lifestyle and increased exposure to imported goods." In fact, the company claims that the market has responded well to the product. "The initial market response in Mumbai and Delhi has been very encouraging and has surpassed our initial expectations," said Naware, adding, "We aim to be the leader in the premium jam segment."

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