FMCG company Marico doubled its turnover in the last four years to Rs 2,000 crore. It plans to get aggressive with its rural strategy and expects functional foods to contribute significantly to its topline. In an interview with Saurabh Turakhia, Saugata Gupta, CEO, consumer products business, Marico, shares the company’s plans, consequences of the unsatisfactory monsoon and the FMCG business in general.
What is the contribution of overseas business to the company’s total turnover?
The international business, which contributes 21 per cent to our total turnover, is growing well, with operations in South Africa, Bangladesh, Egypt and West Asia.
What are your plans for the rural market?
Marico is betting big on rural opportunity, believing that the long-term rural growth story is intact. Though the penetration levels for categories are low, the government is providing the right incentives. In the last one year, growth in the rural markets has outstripped the urban markets for us. So we remain optimistic about rural business.
Is the monsoon likely to affect the growth of business?
I think it is slightly early to tell. There has been some impact in the Hindi heartland and Punjab. However, the overall picture will be clear in the October December quarter.
How has slowdown hit your business?
There has been some downtrading and discretionary expenditure will be controlled. Our Kaya business is likely to be hit and the same store sales growth will be affected.
You have introduced new products under Saffola. What are your plans for the brand?
We believe that the Saffola brand can encompass many categories through its positioning of a health brand. We want to establish it as a healthy food brand in the long-term. Based on customer feedback, we are tweaking Saffola Zest.