Tuesday 22 January 2019

We are entering new categories and grabbing share of consumer basket: Ashni Biyani, Future Consumer

We are entering new categories and grabbing share of consumer basket: Ashni Biyani, Future ConsumerWe work in close proximity with the consumers and we have the ability to create winning brands in various product categories, Ashni Biyani, MD, Future Consumer, tells ET Now.

Edited excerpts:

What is the strategy of Future Consumer in 2019? How is the company encashing on the global trend of rising share of private labels in foods led by a digital economy?
We believe that consumers consistently consume quality products available at a certain price point and we believe in creating habits. That is the whole approach that Future Consumer is taking. We are creating new habits, entering many new categories and grabbing share of the consumer basket.

Globally private label brands have been outgrowing their multinational brands in the food industry led by customisation of offerings as per consumer preferences. Do you think that will happen in India as well?
I do not know about private labels. We are a known brand organisation. All that I can say is when retailers create brands, they have deep insight about the Indian consumers. We work with a lot of data. We are very membership data rich company. We work with a lot of consumer insights. We work in close proximity with the consumers and we have the ability to create winning brands in various product categories.

Is the company operating in differentiated and innovative product offerings and does its presence in categories where competitive intensity is low eans market size is huge and benefits of margins are high?
We work across the portfolio. While we are in mainstay category such as biscuits, chips, namkeens and ketchups, we do a lot of innovation and create new categories as we go along. So body wash is actually a new category creation for us.We recently launched the Indian toilet cleaner. For years, we have been consuming a toilet cleaner given to us by multinationals. It is an Indian company that has innovated and created a toilet cleaner for the Indian toilets which make up for 83% of the toilets in India.

You know the company has seen a strong growth in the last five years. Will such growth momentum continue according to you?
Yes, we believe that we will continue to grow at these rates. We believe that there is a lot for us to yet unleash. We also are going to be expanding our rural distribution footprint through our digital distribution network Aadhaar. So there is a lot for us to do. Our membership portfolio is growing, small stores are going to continue to see expansion and that gives us room for improvisation.

How will Future Retail’s retail network provide a Future Consumer kind of platform?
That is a large platform. We are a modern retail skewed biased FMCG organisation. Various of our packaging, marketing solutions are designed for the modern retail consumer. We have created brands and categories that work for modern retail consumers as well. 

So it is two-way relationship. We help them attract a new set of consumers and they give us a certain base of consumers that are attracted into the retail stores as well.

Do you think FY19 will be an important year for the company? Can you achieve being EBITDA positive and what is the kind of growth that you are pencilling in from here onwards? Will it be led by internal accruals?
Like I said, for us, FY19-20 is going to be important. We will be introducing many new categories that we are going to get into as well. There are many new sizable categories and in addition to that, because of our rural distribution network seeing scale, because of the small store members format being expanded, we will have lots more data to play with and attract the consumers, increase the frequency or our products and penetrate deeper.

The company says it has the ambition to become a Rs 20,000-crore revenue company. How will the joint venture and acquisition help in achieving that target?
We have various joint ventures like we have a joint venture with Fonterra for dairy. A lot of those things will help us in winning in very mainstay categories where lots of specialised expertise is needed. That is the model -- we will build a model of partnerships and alliances to win in many categories.

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