Aiming for Rs 600cr turnover by next financial year: Biju Karnan, Vice Chairman, KKR Group

The brand promises to show allegiance to Keralites regardless of borders and this passion has taken Nirapara to 40 countries, which contributes to 24% of revenue, says Karnan

Nirapara

KKR Group – the makers of Nirapara, a brand selling rice and a range of food products - is one of the household names in Kerala. The group currently deals with 8 different categories and is planning to enter non-food categories such as health, wellness and hygiene. The company has a strong presence in international markets too covering regions like Middle East, Africa, Australia, the UK, Canada and the US. 

In conversation with exchange4media, Biju Karnan, Vice Chairman, KKR Group, spoke about the brand’s journey so far, on signing actor Mohanlal as the brand ambassador, their future plans and more.

Excerpts: 

Forty-three years of Nirapara. Can you take us through the journey so far?

The brand promises to show allegiance to Keralites regardless of borders. Nirapara strives to offer high-quality, authentic Kerala food to every Keralite living inside or outside India. This passion has taken us to 40 countries, which together contributes to 24 per cent of the revenue. Despite recent economic conditions, the Gulf countries remain to be in focus for Nirapara’s expansion, considering the high concentration or Keralite population working in these regions. Geographically, within India or outside, Nirapara’s focus is directly proportional to the Keralite population in a particular region. 


Production of all kinds of rice, spices and pickles is currently carried out in different regions of Kerala - Chelamattom – Perumabavoor, Okkal and Mekalady. The brand is also a boon for the agricultural community in these regions. Farmers benefit to a large extent by associating directly with Nirapara, which offers to procure high quality material straight from the farmers who are paid upfront and are relieved from the burden of dealing with middlemen who charge a commission.   


You recently signed actor Mohanlal as brand ambassador. How has this association enhanced the brand value of Nirapara?


Nirapara, as an organisation, strives to achieve the No.1 position in all its activities. This starts right from the procurement and production to marketing of our products. We thus decided to associate with the No.1 celebrity in the region, who believes in excellence in performance and delivering the best. Our association with Mohanlal has definitely benefitted Nirapara in expanding our customer base.

  
How are you using technology as a support system for the brand?


New-age digitalization has categorically changed the way people shop and the way brands market their products. The impact is on various magnitudes based on the industry and the segmentation. We, at Nirapara, have given more emphasis on advertising our products in the digital platforms and actively engaging with the consumers. We have given a lot of importance to e-commerce business for the next year. We have started to focus on this channel in terms of expanding our range and investing in promotions and offers. This has given us the opportunity to directly interact with our existing as well as potential consumers. 


How are you catering to the customers outside India? 


We are determined to reach out to every Keralite living inside and outside India, and providing them best quality authentic Kerala food that they deserve. This passion has taken us to 40 countries which contributes to 24 per cent of the Rs 370 crore business, we do per year. Being the most concentrated population for Keralites working overseas, the recent decline in the economic condition in the GCC has impacted the industry. However, since Nirapara has a lot of untapped opportunities in these regions, we are growing in terms of market expansion in these parts of the globe.

 

What are your plans for 2019? 


Our current turnover is Rs 370+ crore and we are gunning for Rs 600+ crore by the next financial year. We are investing big on improving our systems efficiency and accuracy in terms of ERP in the back-end, taking of digitalized orders and processing in the front end. We have laid the foundation for a new plant in Palakkad for value-added and innovative products. We are looking to enhance the production of rice, from the current production capacity of 120 tons per day to 250 tons per day. We are also looking at phased-out market penetration in the rest of India and Overseas.  

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