Britannia Industries, a leading player in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector, has ambitious plans to achieve over a twofold expansion of its cheese business within the upcoming three years. This strategic endeavor stems from the company’s active efforts to operationalize its joint venture (JV) with Bel SA, a prominent French cheese manufacturer, with a strong focus on meeting consumer demands. Abhishek Sinha, the CEO of Britannia Bel Foods, shared these insights during an interview.
In the previous financial year, Britannia and Bel established a joint venture with a ratio of 51:49. This was accomplished by divesting a portion of their ownership in the wholly-owned subsidiary BDPL (Britannia Dairy Private Limited), which was subsequently rebranded as Britannia Bel Foods.
During the most recent quarter, the company introduced collaborative packaging alongside Bel Foods. Sinha conveyed that within this current quarter, the two companies are set to unveil novel joint products.
Speaking on its overall cheese business, he said, “The cheese category in India is a Pareto business. This means that the top metros contribute almost 80-90% of the sales. So, the focus is going to be the top metro cities.”
He stated that within metropolitan areas, the cheese category remains insufficiently tapped and its consumption within households is low. As a result, there exists a tremendous opportunity for growth within these cities.
To establish a stronger presence within households, Britannia Bel Foods is actively focusing on enhancing both accessibility and affordability. The company intends to introduce Rs 10 sachet options and significantly amplify its distribution network in metropolitan areas.
The company is aiming for a robust expansion of its market share, emphasizing that its strategies for growth will revolve prominently around innovative product offerings, distribution enhancements, and continuous product refinement.
Additionally, the brand intends to provide consumer education regarding the utilization and intended benefits of its cheese products.
As per Sinha’s assessment, the category has become more accessible to a broader audience over the past 2-3 years. The pandemic has played a role in this, as consumer dining options were limited due to restaurant closures. Both e-commerce and modern trade (MT) channels have significantly contributed to the overall growth during this period.
He mentioned that these channels will serve as the primary catalysts for the growth of the cheese segment, complemented by the traditional trade, where the focus will be on expanding distribution efforts.
Within the organized retail sector, the combined efforts of e-commerce and MT currently account for 50 percent of the total segment revenue. Britannia Bel Foods has a goal to achieve full 100 percent contribution from these two channels, and it intends to invest in their further development.
Sinha shared, “We are going to leverage these channels to be visibly present and also to generate trials and various sampling activities. And as consumers shop from these channels, it becomes crucial to invest in and grow these channels.”
Talking about strategies and investments to scale its business, Sinha said, “We are looking at a multimedia strategy and the lead is going to be through digital because that’s where you can shop and leverage data”
Further, he said, “Our investments are going to be allocated across the touch points for consumers, to not only engage but also to experience the product and the brand.”
Britannia established a dairy facility in Ranjangaon, Pune, Maharashtra, with an investment of approximately INR 600 crore. This facility sources milk from local farmers in the region. The joint venture’s cheese items are also produced at this plant, and they are jointly branded under the trademarks Britannia and The Laughing Cow.