The ready-to-cook segment is projected to grow to Rs 4,800 crore by 2024: Ajay Motwani

We caught up with Ajay Motwani, Head Of Marketing, Adani Wilmar on the brand's latest launches, the spike in the ready-to-cook category, market growth in the segment and more

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Published: Oct 15, 2020 9:11 AM  | 6 min read
ajay motwani

Recent times have witnessed a spike in demand of the ready-to-cook category, most likely due to the pressure of having to balance work-from-home with household chores. Adani Wilmar, which sells a range of edible oils and food products under the Fortune brand, has launched ready-to-cook Soya Chunkies. This is its second product in the category after ready-to-cook Khichdi. The Fortune Soya Chunkies will be launched in West Bengal initially, and other markets subsequently. 

The Soya Chunkies are targeted at children, young professionals, and working women who seek both health and taste at an affordable price without investing too much time in cooking. Along with Soya Chunkies, the brand has also expanded its personal care portfolio by also launching handwash and hand sanitizer under their Alife brand known for Alife Soap. 

With a TV commercial of Fortune Soya Chunkies in the making, Adani Wilmar has also roped in former Indian cricketer Sourav Ganguly as the brand ambassador.

exchange4media caught up with Ajay Motwani, Head Of Marketing, Adani Wilmar on their latest launches, the spike in the ready-to-cook category, market growth in the segment, leveraging digital and more.

Edited Excerpts:-

Throw some light on the latest entrants in the R-T-C and Personal Care Category from Adani Wilmar.

We have two products in the Ready-to-Cook segment. We had entered the segment with superfood Khichdi last year and expanded it with the launch of Soya Chunkies recently. As far as the personal care segment is concerned, we launched soaps under the brand name Alife last year. We have expanded our offerings in this segment by launching Alife handwash and sanitizers recently. All these products have been very well received by consumers.

Why do we observe a spike in demand for the ready-to-cook category these days? How will Ready-to-Cook Soya Chunkies add to the brand value?

The spike in demand for ready-to-cook products is due to a change in lifestyle. There are a large number of working women now, especially in Metros and large cities. Mothers are seeking easy to cook, yet healthy and tasty, options for their children. With RTC, the consumer is also able to add her own unique touch to the dish. However, the issue is that very limited healthy ready-to-cook options are available. Options that are healthy are not tasty, and vice versa. Soya Chunkies offers a perfect combination of taste, health, and convenience, and is positioned as the go-to-wholesome snack for young professionals and working women with kids who seek both health and taste without investing much time in cooking at very affordable price.

The demand for personal care products has been on a rise during the pandemic. How does Adani Wilmar’s new product differentiate itself from others in the cluttered market?

It is true that the demand for personal care products has seen a huge rise in recent months, as people have become more aware of hygiene. Alife Handwash and Hand Sanitizers come with an added advantage of Glycerin, which is gentle on hands and provides moisturizing nourishment. The products ensure protection from 99% germs. The handwash gives the natural protection of lemon while sanitizer provides benefits of Aloe Vera and Neem. Plus, both products are competitively priced.

How has the market growth taken place in the segment of ready-to-cook products and personal care products?

The Ready-to-Cook segment, which comprises rice & meals, snacks mix, curry mix, and dessert mix is already a Rs 2,100 crore business and is projected to grow to Rs 4,800 crore by 2024. The non-frozen RTC segment, which comprises of curries/meals, batters/pastes, pasta & desserts is of Rs 567 crore which is expected to reach 1000 crore by 2024.

As far as the handwash segment is concerned, it is estimated at Rs. 1,000 crore. The penetration of handwash in India is just 10% compared to over 95% for soaps. However, the demand for liquid handwash has increased manifold due to Covid-19. In 2019, the hand sanitizer market in India has been estimated at Rs 150 crore and is expected to reach Rs. 300 crore in a few months post-Covid. In March, when Coronavirus cases were first reported in India, sales were at Rs 43 crore as against Rs. 10 crore last year, according to Nielsen India report. There is a huge scope for growth. The segment has the potential to grow at 30-40% over the next five years, as against 15% growth seen in the last three.

 What are the major areas the brand is investing in?

From being the number one edible oil company in India, we aim to transform ourselves as the number one Food and FMCG company. We are working towards that, as is evident from the launch of multiple products across categories in the last couple of years. We have added sugar, Ready-to-Cook Khichdi & Soya Chunkies to our product range in recent times, and are constantly looking at variation & adding price points. We have also expanded our presence in the personal care segment.

How has the brand leveraged the digital landscape during the pandemic phase?

We have a strong presence in organized retail and also in the neighbourhood kirana stores. However, we have also been using e-commerce platforms aggressively for some time. This strategy has paid rich dividends, as especially during the lockdown, the digital landscape was the only way to reach customers. In addition to leading e-commerce players, we also associated with aggregators such as Swiggy and JustMyRoots to ensure the availability of products to our customers. We are promoting our products on multiple digital platforms, and on social media. We are using digital to offer functional content – taste/health-centric recipes & customized solutions.

What do we expect in the future from the brand? Any new products/campaigns in the pipeline?

The target this year is to increase the branded customer base in categories like Atta, Basmati Rice, Non-Basmati Rice, Besan, etc. Our focus is on gaining market share in these categories and further strengthening our position in branded commodities. We are committed to supplying high-quality products at extremely competitive rates. We will continue to innovate and expand our product portfolio and offerings to meet the requirements and expectations of customers. We aim to emerge as the preferred food brand of India. 


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