Indian food processing industry needs to focus on good hygiene practices
Vijay Agarwal, Director Exports, PANSARI Group, shares the 8 decade long journey of his family owned brand, which is now present in 42 nations across the globe. He opines that Indian food processing industry needs to follow good hygiene practices, environment friendly packaging and strict adherence to timeline. These will make the Indian F&B industry a force to reckon with.
IBT: What competitive differentiators and business strategies have enabled Pansari Group to establish a global brand name in the past eight decades?
Vijay Agarwal: We have been delivering consistent quality in all our products throughout our 8-decade journey and it’s a commendable task, given that every individual has a different taste, every nation has a different flavor. Strict quality control, use of latest technology and constant monitoring right from the the procurement of raw materials to the supply of finished goods ensure customer satisfaction and the success of Pansari Group as a brand.
We have been among the top few brands that have been quick to adopt to new technologies to get ahead of others. We are there in the domestic market since long and have been supplying to different exporters. We started our direct exports under the name of Bharat International in Aug 2018 & in about less than 30 months, we have managed to establish our presence in 42 countries across the globe. And we’ve just started globally and hope to achieve much more.
IBT: How did COVID-19 impact your business? What challenges did it create for your company and how did you, you know, devise strategies did you devise to overcome these challenges?
Vijay Agarwal: We did not face major labour paucity issues since we rely a lot on automation. Initially though, the lockdown did create raw material and packaging material problems for us because all our vendors faced that problem. But as we were in the essential category, we got their permission for them as per the government rules and they also started supplying to us all the raw materials. So, there’s no question of overriding any challenges.
IBT: How has Pansari Group leveraged technology to maximize its ROI & ensure the delivery of quality products to customers?
Vijay Agarwal: We have a fully automated plant. We also have latest packaging machines and we have latest state of the art and sophisticated labs to regularly analyze all our raw materials & Finished products to take care of any shortcomings. To start with, all our raw materials are taken to the lab for testing their quality. Only then, the raw material is offloaded in our factories. Technology is leveraged to monitor the quality & carry out all the processes efficiently. And like Amazon, we, being in b2b category, also send regular messages & update all the suppliers & all buyers informing them about the details of their product arrival / dispatch.
IBT: What are your fastest growing export categories and the drivers for their growth?
Vijay Agarwal: Our fastest growing categories are rice, which is a staple food all over the world, Indian origin edible oils, and recently introduced vacuum packed flours, vacuum packed millet flours and ready mixes. Globally, there is a growing trend to eat healthy and now people prefer home cooked food than junk food. For getting home cooked food, they require all good quality grocery items and we supply quality grocery items. Also with the rise of dual career families and the paucity of time with extended work hours owing to COVID-19, there is a great demand for ready mixes due to the time constraints of working couples.
IBT: Have you been able to tap the international audiences beyond the Indian diaspora in these markets? If yes, for which products and what strategies did you adopt for this?
Vijay Agarwal: Indian diaspora spread worldwide is our current key market and we see a great potential in international diaspora and the hyper chain markets, though we are still lagging in that part. And of course, rice is the product which we are targeting. I’m very happy to inform you that our Pansari brand basmati rice is very popular in Chile, South America, which is a totally non-Indian diaspora market. There is one more example. There is a famous chef and TV personality in Bosnia, Europe. He has been using our Pansari brand royal basmati rice since last one and a half years for all his dishes which required rice and even in all his TV shows. That gives us great pride.
Talking about the strategies, Pansari group has been since last two years, had been regularly participating in all international exhibitions. Like, it may be Indusfood, Gulfood, SIAL Paris, SIAL Canada. The participation in all these gives us a lot of exposure and got a lot of publicity. There we are able to show our strength to the buyers in different markets which helps us a lot. Apart from it, we also have a strong distance marketing team which keeps on regularly connecting is to different parts of the world.
IBT: What inspired you to venture into packaged ready to eat food like poha and missi roti? How has the response to these products been in Indian and global audiences? What international best practices can the Indian F&B industry imbibe in terms of food processing?
Vijay Agarwal: The traditional Indian cooking involves a lot of preparation time. And nowadays with most family members working, there is a shortage of time. So, everyone wants to prepare good food faster. This inspired us to venture into ready mixes like missi roti atta, batura puri atta & bedmi puri atta. Also, due to the fear of catching the COVID-19 virus on stepping out for meals, people are preferring to dine at their own homes. This is also driving the demand for our ready-to-eat dishes. Shortly, we’ll be coming out with more dishes in that range.
For the F&B industry it needs to focus on good hygiene practices, environment friendly packaging and strict adherence to timeline. These will make Indian F&B industry a force to reckon with.
IBT: What are your plans for 2021 in terms of business expansion/new product launches/ market diversification?
Vijay Agarwal: We’ll be soon launching many other new varieties of ready mixes, ready to eat food products and a range of seasoning. We are also in the process of setting up another state of art spice manufacturing and packaging unit as per global standards. We wish to venture into newer territories internationally, tap more international diaspora, apart from bridging our share in domestic market. As of now, we are present in only 42 countries worldwide and hope to double it soon, maybe in 2021 or at least by 2022.
Vijay Agarwal is Director Exports at Pansari Group, in the name of Bharat International. He is leading a team of professionals involved in marketing & packaging as per international standards. He has been supplying goods to many big brands across globe through private labeling. He has been able to reach a milestone of presence in 42 countries in less than 30 months, since launch of Export division in Aug 2018. His educational qualifications include MSc, Mtech(IT) & MBA.