Swiss dairy major Nestle’s Indian subsidiary, Nestle India, on Thursday said it is actively scouting for locations in the north-east for setting up a manufacturing plant in the region.
The company will initially focus on packaged foods such as noodles and chocolates “We have been planning to expand our presence in the north-east and intend to set up a manufacturing base there, with a go-to-market readiness of the unit in the next one-and-a-half years,” Antonio Helio Waszyk, chairman and MD, Nestle India, told HT.The company has shortlisted four sites across two states and the deal is likely to be signed in the next quarter. Waszyk, however, declined to divulge investment details or names of the states where it is scouting for the sites.
Nestle India currently has seven manufacturing facilities across the country (see table). The company’s factory at Tahilwal in Himachal Pradesh is expected to be commissioned next year.
The company’s business model for distribution in the north-east would be different from its existing models elsewhere in the country, said Waszyk, a Brazilian.
“Since sourcing of milk in the region may be difficult, we intend to initially focus on packaged foods such as noodles and chocolates and we may need to depend on our existing suppliers in other parts of the country for sourcing the ingredients,” he said.
The company, which entered the pasteurised and ultra-high temperature (UHT) processed milk segment in 2000, also plans a re-launch of the product in December, in a bid to boost its market share.
The company has registered a 40% growth in rural sales last year. “The five rupee Kitkat, the one rupee éclair and the Chotu Munch are doing extremely well in the rural areas,” said Waszyk.