The cigarette-to-hotel-to-FMCG conglomerate ITC has been evaluating food trends during the lockdown and plans to launch new products in the next couple of months.
“We are evaluating products which consumers are demanding during the lockdown. We have noticed a few trends. Over the next couple of months we will launch all of those,” said Hemant Malik, Divisional Chief Executive − Foods Division, ITC without sharing any specific details.
He was speaking at a virtual conference organised to launch B Natural+ fruit beverage in partnership with Amway.
Malik pointed out that given the coronavirus pandemic consumers are looking for immunity boosting products and hence, ITC launched B Natural + range which is expected to provide immunity through fruit and fibre.
The beverage, B Natural +, available in two flavours—Orange and Mixed Fruit priced at Rs 130 for one litre has been developed by ITC’s Life Sciences & Technology Centre.
“During these trying times, immunity has emerged as a key focus area. This Clinically proven Ingredient was tested in a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study conducted over a period of 3 months keeping in mind all the guidelines by ICMR and the study is registered in CTRI,” Malik stated.
The new B Natural + range will be available in two variants.
As a strategic partner in the space of health and immunity, Amway India is expected to further accelerate reach to the consumers.
Subsequently, the new range will also be available nationally across modern trade format, general trade stores and e-commerce websites, through ITC’s PAN-India distribution network.
Going forward more such tie-ups are in the pipeline, he said.
Malik expects consumers to shift from carbonated drinks to fruit juices due to health factors.
He also said during the lockdown the company has witnessed immense demand for its packaged food brands such as Aashirvaad, Yippee! Noodles, Sunfeast and B Natural.
The Kolkata-based conglomerate reported a net profit of Rs 4,141.93 crore for the December quarter, on gross revenue of Rs 11,912.16 crore.
The company is yet to announce results for January-March FY20.
According to analysts, supply chain disruptions are likely to hit the profitability of ITC.
The company launched multiple initiatives to participate in India's fight against coronavirus by tapping a range of distribution channels to ensure that supplies of essential food and hygiene products are delivered at the doorstep of its consumers during lockdown period.
It joined hands with Domino's to deliver ITC’s essential items and partnered with food delivery chains Swiggy, Zomato along with community-centric apps such as Apna Complex, My gate, No broker and Azgo.
Through such tie-ups, ITC ensured home deliveries of its brands like Aashirvaad, Yippee!, Sunfeast B Natural.
Recently, the ITC had entered into a share purchase agreement to acquire Kolkata-based packaged spice maker Sunrise Foods as the firm looks to bolster its food business and battle rivals Hindustan Unilever, Pepsico and Britannia.
ITC has been looking to tilt the revenue mix from its mainstay tobacco to FMCG across categories.