Modi Naturals to launch sub-brand Oleev Kitchen to enter RTC/E segments as consumers continue to remain indoors

Modi Naturals, the maker of olive oil brand Oleev, is launching sub-brand Oleev Kitchen in June to enter the trending Ready-To-Eat (RTE) and Ready-To-Cook (RTC) segments. The edible oil and snacking products company will sell peanut butter spread and RTC pasta under the new brand. The product expansion comes as the brand expects to widen reach and compete with rivals such as Del Monte and Di Sano as Indian consumers switch to home-cooked food with the second wave of Covid-19 rapidly spreading in India.

“Research showed that consumers are not going out and are reproducing the same consumption of products, like pasta and pizza, at home,” said Shardul Bist, chief marketing officer of Modi Naturals. The company had conducted a study about its brand with consulting firm Kantar Worldpanel which highlighted the growing positive mindset about RTC and RTE segments amid the pandemic prompting the New-Delhi headquartered company to launch the sub-brand.

“This year, the growth of snacks and RTE will perhaps be more due to the second wave as people continue to stay indoors. Last year, the consumers were not prepared but this year they are prepared and are beefing up their pantry accordingly,” added Bist.

India’s ready-to-cook segment saw brisk sales every month since the pandemic-led lockdowns last year as people ordered in a variety of foods—from iD Fresh Food’s malabar parotas to

’s rajmah galouti kebab and Mumbai vada pops—to bring the dining-out experience home. For instance, Azim Premji-backed iD Fresh noted that the sale of its parotas overtook flagship idli batter revenue for the first time.

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In fact, the RTC segment was one of the rare categories which saw surging sales during the peak of the first lockdown when sales of most other segments declined. Packaged snack and biscuit makers, who saw sales surge in the June and September quarters last fiscal due to higher at-home consumption, had noted demand flagging a bit in favour of out-of-home consumption and ready-to-cook products.

Earlier this year, packaged food companies such as Tata Consumer Products, ITC Ltd, iD Fresh and Gits Food Products had said that they are planning a record number of launches in the space in 2021, hoping surging home consumption will hook consumers at a time when dining-out culture has been stressed.

“For the first year, we are looking to generate about 3% of our business from Oleev Kitchen. Going forward, the target is 5-10%,” said Bist.

The mid-premium brand will be retailed on ecommerce platforms and modern trade channels. Launch of more variants and related snacks are planned under this sub-brand in the next six months, the company added.

Last year, Modi Naturals had also entered the Rs 400 crore at-home popcorn segment under the brand Pipo. The company is planning to expand this portfolio now as the trend of in-home dining and snacking continues. Out of home consumption of popcorn – at cinemas and small vendors – pegged at Rs 500 crore, is currently stressed due to the second wave led restrictions and lockdown.

“Premiumisation in the overall FMCG sector will be tough this year due to inflation. Price of edible oil has increased by 70-80% and the same goes with soaps and detergents. However, in the popcorn market we expect premiumisation because people did not have the option of new flavours till now. We expect to achieve about 5% market share in the RTC popcorn segment this fiscal,” Akshay Modi, director of Modi Naturals, told ET.

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Modi Naturals is one of the leaders in the aspirational olive oil segment. However, the company said it will not go overboard to launch super premium products this year.

The turnover of Modi Naturals was Rs 400 crore as on FY19-20.



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