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‘Innovation has been key to Veeba’s success’INTERVIEW

Thursday, December 28, 2017, 11:52 Hrs  [IST]

Exotic sauces and spreads have been gaining momentum in the Indian market across the food service and the domestic segments. Veeba started the supplies of these products as a B2B player by focusing their supplies majorly to the food service segment... with products like Sriracha sauce, Chipotle sauce and many more; it now serves international tastes to serve to the taste buds of the well-travelled Indians. In an interaction with Viraj Bahl, Founder and MD, Veeba, Akshay Nayak learns how these products used in preparations by the food service segment are fulfilling the Indian palate’s rising desire for exotic dressings and sauces.

Q Initiating first with the B2B sector, how did you spread awareness of your brand in the HoReCa segment? How has Veeba tried to catch up with the evolving food trends in India to support the HoReCa customers?
From the very beginning, Veeba entered the market with the philosophy of offering a wide range of dips, sauces and dressings, and be a company that is committed to the idea of presenting authentic, International flavours for the Indian palate. Over the last three years, we have worked in partnership with our key clients to build and operate an innovation-centric product development process that ensures we meet all of our clients’ needs. The HoReCa segment needs both consistency of supply and quality of product along with a competitive price. Our R&D is quite strong, and having a close ear to the market realities, Veeba has been able to meet all three requirements while adding the benefit of ‘variety’ to keep things fresh.

Q What are the latest innovations from Veeba?
The latest addition to Veeba’s product range is our Peanut Butter. Veeba Peanut Butter is enriched with Calcium, Iron, Vitamin A & D, that is now available in two variants, Creamy and Crunchy.

This is a massive brand extension for us, where we were banking on our goodwill in the ‘savoury spreads’ categories, and the product has not let us down. From the early days, we have had a phenomenal response from the market. We expect the Peanut Butter sales to defy all market estimates, and give us a lot of confidence in the power of the brand.

Q What is the current ratio between retail and B2B for Veeba, and which segment do you believe will drive your future growth?
The Industry is growing rapidly, as new fast food chains continue to enter the Indian market and existing chains including Burger King, Dominos and KFC expand their presence, all indications are that brands such as ours will see heightened demand, so the B2B segment will continue to be a very significant contributor to the business.

Our foray into the retail sector is relatively new in comparison, but the consumer response has been impressive as it has given us an early leadership position in the specialty food ingredients sector. This is a sector that still needs a lot of investment and marketing support so this will be a growth area for Veeba as a brand.

Q How are convenience food solutions driving the food service business in the country and what is the market growth in CAGR for your segment?
India has always been known for its rich diversity and food is embodied to be one of the core part of this diverse landscape. The changing demographics, increase in income, urbanisation and growth in organised retail is driving India’s F&B sector. Brands/ chains of both Indian and MNC brands are still less penetrated and there exists a large opportunity in this space to create bigger restaurant chains, which in turn, creates a bigger market for us. Add to that the changing lifestyle of the modern Indian, and a whole new world of B2C opportunity springs up. Various reports are pegging the sector to grow between 20% to 25%, but all indications are for a ‘growth recipe’!

Q What are the key points that Veeba products exhibit against the competitors?
There are numerous features that Veeba Products exhibit of which the key points are- Authentic taste where these world-class products offer authentic taste to the Indian consumer; lower fat products; the wide range of Veeba gives the consumers a good variety to choose from and caters to the constantly changing palate.

Q What strategies do you apply before introducing a product in the market?
Our philosophy has always been to listen very closely to the customer and to keep in sync with their changing lifestyles and needs. As such, Veeba’s wide range of sauces, dips and dressings have all been conceptualised so as to offer products that are highly appealing for the new-age Indian consumer.

We have also been cognisant of the fact that the modern consumer is well-travelled and much more aware of international trends and tastes, so we have introduced products such as Chipotle style dressing, Harissa Dressing and Sriracha Sauce bringing authentic flavours from across the world into our homes.

Q What are the innovations that Veeba is investing into to expand further in the market?
We have always tried to gauge the changing consumer trends in advance and provide them with a solution, even before there is a need for one. We try giving our clients everything that they need right from packaging solutions to a wide variety. Innovation has been key to Veeba’s success in this very short journey and we try to give our consumers something new every season.

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