In an exclusive interaction with Restaurant India, Anil Chandok, CEO and President, Chenab Impex, shares his thoughts about the need of modernization in the food laws and import challenges.
Tell us something about Chenab Impex.
Our company is in the business of importing and distribution of food products since 2002. We import the products of more than 70 leading food manufacturers which comprises of all types of processed food distributed all over India through our wide distribution channel. We supply to all kinds of consumers ranging from hotels, restaurants, caterers and retail stores.
What are the major operational challenges you face in the supply chain management?
The major challenge is the FSSAI requirements of labeling and ingredients so the manufacturer has to first comply with that. Second is the logistics because the efficient and proper cold chain is not available so you cannot import small quantities by sea. Premium foods you cannot import in container because it is in too much quantity and when it arrives in India the time it takes for clearing, cold chain for storage and distribution within India.
From which countries do you source your product?
We source our products from the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, USA, Canada, Mexico, Thailand and our maximum import is from Italy.
Are you listed with HORECA? Would you like to name some of your clients?
Yes, we are listed with HORECA. All the luxury five star hotels across Indian are our clients. Hotel TAJ, Hotel Oberoi, Hotel Leela, Hotel Hyatt and Marriott are some of the names.
What is the market share of your product and how do you see them growing?
The market is really huge and our share is very small but they are growing quite satisfactorily. The demand is growing and Indian people like snacking so it will gradually increase with time.
How do you ensure superior packaging to maintain product quality and food safety?
We do not do any packaging from our end. We import and distribute as the products as they are packaged so we need to ensure that we are dealing with number one company in that category and that company takes care of packaging labeling and everything. We are dealing with internationally well renowned company who are award winners for their products and packaging. We are dealing in the package products so proper package is evident and if it is torn or broken then the product is to be discarded and if it is cold or temperature sensitive product we ensure that the right temperature is maintained throughout the transportation and storage so for that temperature recorder is used.
How do you look at food laws by government of India?
The food laws are essential but the present food laws are quite old and they need to be modernized. The food safety held the task of modernizing which they have not done so far because of which food safety lacking somewhere. They are concentrating more on ensuring safe food for rich people and ensuring that the imported food is safe and they are mainly consumed by wealthy people. Whereas 99 per cent of the population are consuming domestically produced food and there are very little efforts made in improving the quality and safety of the street foods, fresh vegetables, fruits, milk, fruits processed by small cottage industry so food safety and laws should be made to really serve the entire nation.
How do you decide on pricing of your products for Indian market?
We work at the cost of the product after it arrives in the country. We do the costing first according to storage, transportation and all those things which it require and then we add our administrative cost to it and price it accordingly.
What are your marketing and expansion activities?
Since, we are dealing with restaurants and hotel sector so marketing and promoting we do directly with the chefs. We keep them informed about our new products and place samples to them for testing. Also we do advertisements and social media activities to promote our products. Now, we have started import and distribution of wine from Spain and France and we will soon launch wine from Italy and Chile in Indian market.