In an exclusive interview with Restaurant India, Siraj Chaudhary, Chairman, Cargill India, talks about his products and offering focusing on high-scale edible oil.
Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Cargill’s operations in India started in 1987. Its business comprises refined oils, food ingredients, wheat flour, grain and oilseeds, sugar, cotton, animal feed and trade and structured finance. With market leading consumer brands of edible oils such as NatureFresh, Gemini and Sweekar and Rath and Sunflower Vanaspati brands of hydrogenated fats, the group is also into packaged wheat flour under NatureFresh brand.
You have acquired five brands in Edible Oil and Vanaspati segment. What is the next segment you are looking at?
There is nothing about acquiring any particular segment, we decide to acquire brands according to our requirements, and if it is required, we make that happen. We are into food segment, edible oil floor space and soon will be launching corn milling plant in October in Karnataka. And if there is something which comes as an opportunity, we will evaluate it and if something is fitting into our business plan and strategy, then we make a pitch for acquiring it.
You are offering a wide range of products. Which one is the most revenue generating?
The two areas in which we are ahead or in the front line with other people in the market are: Sunflower oil, Gemini Sunflower Oil and another is Vanaspathi Oil which is now much refined. The next line which we are pushing harder is, Lenardo Olive Oil, which is for a different category and section in the market. We are trying to make it affordable and also change consumer’s mindset that olive oil can be used for Indian cooking.
As you are opening the Karnataka Corn mill plant in October this year, so what are the services you are going to offer there?
The plant is really about processing Corn, to produce Glucose and Maltodextrin which are both ingredients for the food industry. These are the two products which are going to be produced there.
What are your views on the new import law passed by the government? Do you find it too stringent to follow?
The laws are not that much stringent as for the food industry. There have been cases of inconsistency and differences of opinion for specifications of the product that can be imported or not. So, maintaining harmony and adhering to the government laws for the specifications at origin and specifications at the destination is something that the law stipulates.
What is the contribution of Cargill in the Indian food market? Can you share the numbers with us?
It’s largely in the edible oil. We supply edible oil to most of the big food companies and I think that as we get into the corn milling space we would be doing great. We are also managing the grain supply chain for a lot of food companies. So, we manage the corn supply chain, wheat supply chain for wheat and flour mills and we also work closely with the dairy and poultry industry through our animal feed and nutrition industry. So, we contribute largely to the Indian market through dairy, animal feeding, edible oil, meat and now, also with the corn processing plant.
We can’t share the numbers as these are very diverse fields and we are not playing for market share; just serving the right customers with the right products.
You are also supplying to the big restaurant chains and hotels. Can you name some of them?
We don’t want to name our clients as that impacts their privacy, but we serve all the big QSR chains, hotel chains, snack food manufacturers and biscuit manufacturers.