In an interview to Restaurant India, Rajneesh Bhasin, CEO, Borges India talks about the growing trend of healthy food in India.
Tell us about the journey of Borges in India?
Borges India was set up as a 100 per cent subsidiary under the Borges International Group headquartered in Spain which today has a turnover of about Billion USD. Borges Group operates in over 100 countries spread across 5 continents. Started by the Pont family in 1896 the group enjoys a strong brand lineage. As the largest exporter of branded Olive Oil from Spain, it has distribution centers in US, France, Russia, Brazil and Australia among others. Borges India came into inception in the year 2009 and commenced commercial operation is 2010. In the six years of operation, Borges India has crossed 10 million Euros turnover and has turned profitable. Borges started with the launch of olive oil and today, has a portfolio of products ranging from olive oils to pastas, Pasta Sauces to Seed oils, Table olives to California Range of nuts.
As you believe in providing health and nutrition to Indians. How do you see the market for it?
Health and nutrition is a fast growing category in India today. With a sedentary lifestyle and the growth of lifestyle related ailments like diabetes, hyper tension, heart disorders, urban Indians have become cautious about their daily intake. Not only are they monitoring their daily intake but also, are on the lookout for healthier replacements. This trend can be seen across categories from beverages, snacks, grains to edible oils. Green Tea, mueslis, whole wheat grains, soya snacks and oats are some of the examples of the healthy products which have caught the attention of many. We realized that the Indian consumer was on a look out for olive oil which was not only healthy but also matched the taste & style of Indian cooking. That is when we launched our Extra Light Olive Oil, an olive oil which involved no chemical extraction and was ideal for all kinds of Indian cooking. Since then we have been known to be the pioneers of olive oil in India and till today command 80% share in the Extra Light category.
What are some of the products you are offering?
As a Mediterranean food specialist the company’s range of successful products spans across product categories which include Olive Oils, Pastas, Table Olives, Seed Oils California Range of Nuts, Pasta Sauces & Popcorns. We have recently launched California Pistachios, Almonds and in shell walnuts within our California nuts category and also, new variants in the stuffed olives category including the likes of Jalapeno, Lemon and Pepper stuffed Green Olives. With the same intent of introducing more healthy offerings, we plan to launch new products in multiple categories.
What is your view on the food policies and safety in India?
Under the Ministry of health & family welfare, the Food Safety and Standards authority of India (FSSAI) monitors the quality and safety of food products and over the years there have been many developments whether it has been with respect to introducing new rules for importing products, addressing the concerns of sub-standard items and simplifying the process by setting shelf-life norms and relaxing labelling guidelines. Going forward the adoption of international standards like Codex in multiple product categories will help bringing uniformity with the quality standards being adhered across the world.
Who is your target audience?
Since, we operate in multiple product categories, our target consumer differ from category to category. For pasta & pop corn it might be kids & young adults looking for snacking opportunities while for olive oil and nuts, it might be families or singles on the outlook for healthy products and replacements. But since all our products are imported, our target audience essentially is the SEC A & A+, male & female in the age-group of 24-60, educated and well-travelled, willing to try out new products.
What is your market presence (cities, retail tie-ups and networks)?
Currently, we are present in about 52 towns and cities across India. Our major chunk of business comes from modern trade approx. 65 per cent and rest of it from traditional trade, HORECA, CSD and online E-commerce platforms like Amazon, Snapdeal etc. We have our own sales force of about 150 odd people across India and distribution and logistics partners across all these towns and cities.
Going forward what is your expansion plan?
In the coming 4–5 years, Borges India plans to triple its turnover from 10 mn Euros to about 30 mn Euros. With many new categories being launched like California Range of Nuts- Almonds, Pistachios and walnuts and many others under the planning process, we are sure to bring out many new healthy offerings for our consumers.