Basmati rice market: At its ‘Best’

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Out of the hundreds of rice varieties present in the Indian market, Basmati has been considered as the King of rice and is well-known for its use in Indian traditional cuisine.  Of late, demand for the premium variety of rice has gone up within the country with the increase in growing income and distribution. One major trend that has emerged out of this is the consumer opting for branded products. Thus, there are many brands that are competing for the shelf space in this category of Basmati rice, for example Lal Qilla, Dawat Basmati, Kohinoor Basmati, and Annapurna, among many others. Seeing a massive opportunity in the market, one such player – Best Foods Group, after its long stretch in Basmati rice export since the year 2000, recently started domestic sales. It also claims to be the number one exporter of this rice strand from India, with a presence in  over 56 countries including UAE, Yemen,UK, Italy, Holland, France, Germany, USA and Australia.

In order to differentiate its offerings in this cut-throat competitive milieu, Best Foods Rice has positioned itself as an organic food brand that delivers a variety of rice under the umbrella branding Best. It also claims to have gone through diligent processes to get the best quality of food grain with relevant certifications. Moreover, after creating a viable presence in the retail and distribution circuit, the brand has gone aggressive in terms of promotions, while laying equal emphasis on the packaging of the product.  According to Neha Pandhi, Domain Manager, Marketing and Product Development, Best Food, “We have launched this new brand with new packaging and new communication.  Once we placed ourselves decently across all cities, modern retail formats and distribution networks; we felt it is the right time to advertise.”

In fact experts too feel that a brand needs to advertise only when it has created a strong distribution and retail presence. In an earlier interview with Pitch, Pankaj Gupta, Practice Head, Consumer and Retail, Tata Strategic Management Group said that 15-20 per cent of the consumers buying is impulse based and unplanned in the organic food industry, therefore, there is no question of ATL till the product category is not well developed and established.

With Ogilvy & Mather as the creative partners who have developed the communication and packaging Best’s Pandhi says that the brand does whatever it takes for it to chase the share of voice and volume in the market requirements specification. “Whatever we think the brand is relevant and worth spending, we do a different analysis of the costing as well as the deliverables. We do not have any specific budget on activities but we have spent a couple of crores this year in high impactful properties on TV and intend to spend more on various other activations soon.”

Best Foods is currently following a 360 degree communication approach where both ATL and BTL activities will be entertained. “The brand is involved in television commercials, print, radio and other BTL activations at different touch points.  “We will do whatever it takes for us to communicate with the right TG,” she adds.

The brand has segmented its product as premium, mid value and economical. The range spans across the health and wellness range offering which includes brown rice, organic rice, almonds, honey and walnuts. The other brands include Best Royale Vintage, Best Super Premium, Best Premium, Best Select, Best Special, Best Shahi Pakwan, Best Brown rice and Best Organic rice. Best targets those who are conscious about their health and what they eat. “Our product is gaining grounds as more and more people understand the importance of organic foods. There has been an increase in the demand of organic products and we are very optimistic of its growing trends,” opines Pandhi.

In terms of visibility, Best claims to be the pioneer of a new model of retail presence. It has started its own exclusive retail outlets across Delhi and NCR and currently has about 39 outlets in all the high traffic areas in Delhi. It plans to open similar outlets pan India in the next couple of years. The brand has also introduced kiosks and home delivery systems at various malls and retail outlets. “It is one of its kind and nobody has started or launched this kind of a project wherein we have speciality exclusive brand owned stores and company outlets, where we have rice as well as other health and nutrition products,” adds Pandhi.

The brand supplies entire range of Basmati Rice in consumer packs of one, five, 10 and 25 kilograms.  It offers almonds in both one and five kg packs; as well as walnuts packs of 100grams and 250 grams and honey in packs of 125 grams and 400 grams.

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