In an exclusive interview to Restaurant India, Paul Schiefer, Director of International Operations- Amy’s talks about their idea to enter India.
What is the whole idea of launching Amy’s in India?
There is a growing awareness for organic food and better options in India, as well as more global tastes. Because of this, we believe there is a great opportunity to bring convenient, tasty, and organic food to India. Amy’s is a pioneer in this category in the US, and we feel the market in India would appreciate our unique, high quality products.
What are the different varieties of product portfolio available at Amy’s?
Globally, Amy’s sells across many categories, including organic soup, frozen meals, pizza, and snacks, and chocolate candy.In India, we are focusing on organic canned soup and frozen meals, snacks, and pizza.
As we have seen that there is a growing demand of Organic and healthy food in India. How are you going to market your brand right to the new age customers?
The best way to market our brand is to have someone try the food -- as they usually love it. As such, we are activating promotions in the stores so people can try the food and learn more about the brand. In addition, we are telling our story through social media and media outreach.
How about the packaging as packaging is an important part in RTE segment?
Packaging has always been important to us at Amy’s, and we put a lot of care into the quality of the package, as well as the imagery and information we share on it. More than packaging, the integrity of the frozen supply chain is the most important part of our segment. As such, we are putting in programs to help everyone in the supply chain understand our requirements, and we are also regularly checking stores to make sure product is in the ideal condition.
What is the shelf life of your food items depending on the basic food safety?
Our frozen products have a two year shelf life, and our canned soup has a three year shelf life
How about retail presence?
We are focused primarily on modern trade outlets in the Delhi/NCR region to test out the market and our products. We will then slowly expand into other regions and segments as appropriate.
As you are already one of the largest players globally in terms of Organic products. Which is your top market in terms of performance?
The US is our first and largest market, and we have been there for over 30 years, and we have a strong presence in Canada, where we’ve been for a decade. However, we are also growing fast in the UK, France, Australia and many other new markets around the world.
Why only vegetarian as menu? From where did you source the best ingredients?
Being a vegetarian food company has been one of our core principles, since the founding of the business. That being said, we find that many non-vegetarians love our products and often don’t even realize that there is no meat in them.
We source the best ingredients from a great network of farmers and food suppliers. We work directly with farmers to select seed varieties, help implement best practices, and work on contracting practices that create healthy partnerships.Our sourcing team members are experts on the crops we buy and can often be found in the field tasting ingredients, like young broccoli or tomatoes, to make sure the flavor profile is just right. We take the quality of our ingredients very seriously, as you can’t make delicious food without starting with the absolute best ingredients.
As we believe that Indian’s have a very different food palate will you be launching any food items specific to Indian taste?
India has a rich culinary history that I absolutely love exploring when I visit. Also, the company founders, Andy and Rachel Berliner have many close friends in India and have a deep appreciation for Indian cuisine. We’re seeing in India influx of global cuisine including Italian, Asian, and even now Mexican flavors. Amy’s has always focused on making food that is authentic to the country of origin. So when we make Italian food, it is similar to what you find in a small restaurant in the Italian countryside. Our Mexican food is inspired by local recipes that have been passed down generations. So, rather than trying to change our flavors for local markets, we have found staying true to our authentic origins is the best strategy for us. We do realize that “center of the plate” frozen meals and canned soup are relatively new concepts in India. So, in addition to those items, we are also focusing on great tasting pizza and a line of unique snacks which are more common in our segment.
Who is your target customer?
Our target customer is just about anyone who loves good, readymade food made with integrity and pride. This can be young parents who don’t have regular domestic help, students or professionals who are living away from home, or anyone who wants to experience delicious organic food made with global flavors
What is your expansion plan going forward in the Indian market and globally?
We are very excited about the opportunity in India and will have further announcements soon about our expansion plans. Globally, we are selling Amy’s foods in over 30 countries and looking at new opportunities every day.