Innovation & quality are our focus areas: Firoz Meeran, Eastern Condiments

Firoz Meeran, Managing Director, Eastern Condiments, talks about the brand’s growth, its marketing strategies, distribution model and more

e4m by Neethu Mohan
Updated: Jul 2, 2019 8:18 AM
Firoz Meeran Eastern

Eastern was set up over 40 years ago as a trading company. Over the years, the group has grown leaps and bounds and today, it employs around 4000 people and has a turnover of over INR 900 crores. The flagship company of the group, Eastern Condiments is primarily involved in the manufacture and marketing of ready-to-use spices, masala blends, rice powders, coffee, tea, pickles, etc.

Eastern has carved a niche for itself in the GCC market, where it remains very popular with the Indian and local community. Other than the Middle East, the company also exports its products to the US, UK, Canada, Europe, Singapore, Malaysia, Maldives, Yemen, Australia, etc. Eastern Condiments has been awarded as India’s largest spice exporter by the Spices Board of India for the last 18 years in a row. The company has a strategic alignment with the US spices giant McCormick.

In conversation with exchange4media, Firoz Meeran, Managing Director, Eastern Condiments, talks about the brand’s growth, group’s marketing strategies, distribution model and more.

The growth of Eastern Group from a local entity to an international-Indian brand

Creating an efficient supply chain from farm to fork in a scalable, sustainable and socially responsible path and assuring the lead in terms of agri-products and quality have been the key factors that helped Eastern in creating a culture of excellence. The commitment and invaluable contributions of every single 'Easterner' should be mentioned especially as this would have been impossible without their upstanding value system.

Strategic alignment with the US spices giant McCormick

Eastern's partnership with Mccormick, the world’s largest spice retailer is has been a very fulfilling journey. As a strategic partnership, it has helped Eastern implement quality processes that are world class and to become future-oriented in terms of innovation.

The group’s marketing budgets and strategies

Spending less on marketing is our winning formula. Compared to other brands in the same space, our strategy is to keep the marketing spends low. Innovation and product quality are our focus areas and we intend to stick with it. The reason is, we do umbrella branding through online, which is a space we have consistently focused on and will continue to build on it.

Market share

When all the spice brands in India are put together, the totality is less than 25% of the spice consumption in India and its growing fast. This is a big opportunity that we’ll be unfolding in the next 10 years. Over the years we are happy to say that we have made significant inroads in Karnataka, AP, Telangana, UP, Maharashtra as part of our national roadmap.

A unique distribution model that keeps the wholesalers away

Eastern sticks to a unique distribution system. Our products are distributed to the retailer every single week throughout the year in a specified time. This has an impact in multiple ways. Firstly, fresh products are delivered. The product leaving the factory will take only 1 day to a maximum of 5 days to reach the retailer. The second point is that the retailer only procures what he/she needs. We don’t force anyone to hoard large quantities of products. The retailer has full freedom to buy products according to his/her needs. This avoids forced stockpiling which is a concern in the FMCG space done to meet the sales targets etc.

About investment plans

We are excited about investing in Shipnext, a logistics technology platform.  A Digital Automated Shipping Marketplace & Network like Shipnext can make us more proficient in reliable Cargo-to-Ship matching, freight trading, contracting and documentation flow.

What next for Eastern Group?

We are keen to focus on education and technology, as the need for building sustainable models along these lines are significant in today’s world.

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