Swiss giant Nestle is preparing to take a bite out of the regional ready-to-eat curry market in India as it readies to launch culinary pastes for catering professionals in the country.
The culinary paste range, which is currently being test-marketed in northern India, will enable restaurant and hotel chains to standardise meal offerings, even as it helps cuts down on time and manpower costs. Nestle India will scale up its ready-to-eat prepared dishes and cooking aids with these pastes on the consumer side at a later stage.
The ready-to-eat segment — pegged at around Rs. 300 crore of the total Rs. 85,000 crore-packaged food market — is growing at an annual rate of 25%.
Leading players in the prepared dishes and cooking aids category include ITC, MTR, Heinz, Parampara Food Products (now part of US-based General Foods), Ching’s and Kohinoor Foods. Taking them on, Nestle India will start its foray into the segment with a business-to-business approach.
“This is a new thing for the Indian market. It is basically a culinary paste delivered for the professional chefs to create a standardised product everywhere,” said a senior executive with Nestle India, on condition of anonymity.
Nestle India did not respond to queries seeking details on the subject.
“Curries are the heart of all Indian gravies. The offerings will be divided into four categories depending on the base product -onion, tomato, cashew or coconut - and diluted according to the according to requirement for creating the end dish. This will help restaurant chains substitute manpower and save time,” the Nestle executive said.
“The market for prepared dishes and cooking aids is very fragmented and still evolving. The potential for growth exists but is possible only if the products are relevant and well-differentiated,” said Abneesh Roy, associate director, Institutional Equities Research, Edelweiss.