Since Vinita Bali joined Britannia as CEO in January 2005, the company expanded into West Asia through a joint venture with Khimji Ramdas group and has extended its presence to Sri Lanka. She has also put in place several cost and productivity enhancement programmes that have helped Britannia go through some rough weather.
Saurabh Turakhia of Hindustan Times spoke to Bali about the impact of input-cost inflation, the business outlook, innovation and international expansion of the company.
Food inflation is in excess of 10 per cent and input-cost inflation will be more severe in 2008-09. Inflation will remain the biggest challenge for the next year.
On the dispute about Tiger brand with the Danone group
The status is still the same. Proceedings will soon take place in Singapore.
On organised retail players demanding higher margins
It is not at all justified. Partly, it is an attempt to recover their exorbitant fixed costs. Organised retail players have to work more on category management and in understanding which products move fast.
On the branded snacks segment
We don't want to be the fourth brand of potato chips. That business is not growing as fast as the biscuits business. However, we will try to get a share of consumption in that segment without copying others.
On the strategy for Britannia
Britannia's credo is Swasth Khaao, Tan Man jagao--so we will try to make enjoyable food more nutritious.
On international expansion
This March, we entered Sri Lanka, where we have taken our six power brands and will soon start production as well. Sri Lanka reflects demographic and consumption characteristics that are similar to India. For our international expansion, we will look for markets that show patterns like India.
Every year we have cost-effectiveness programmes and productivity-enhancement programmes at our internal innovation centre. Some time back, we figured out a way to double the rate of our packaging machine, which resulted in productivity efficiency. We also introduced value packs, which have done very well.