The food industry is concerned over the economic slowdown despite record grain production, as the downturn seems to have percolated from real estate and automobiles to employment and food sales.
So when it comes to food, there is a bit of a question mark in the minds of people on the extent of the slowdown. Hemant Malik, CEO-Foods Business of ITC, Varun Berry, MD of Britannia, Mohit Anand, MD-India and South Asia of Kellogg’s, Simon George, President of Cargill India and RS Sodhi, MD of Amul, shared their views and outlook.
“The growth continues in our premium products, but mass and basic products are affected. Still we should not be far from a double-digit growth for the industry, which is reasonable,” said Malik.
“There are two channels which are showing signs of a slowdown. First is the rural channel and the second is the wholesale channel. These are all cyclical factors. The base-of-the-pyramid segments are showing signs of slowdown,” Berry added.
“We have seen a phenomenal effort from the government, in the last one week or so, to make sure that the right kind of impetus is provided to most industries. The onus is also on the industry to make sure that steps are taken to spur growth. In about six months or so, we will start to see normalisation as far as growth is concerned,” he added.
“It is a selective slowdown. We continue to see growth in small towns and metros have been stable. There is tremendous opportunity. This slowdown is only temporary,” Anand observed.
“Last year, our growth was 14 percent. This year, in the first five months, our growth is around 25 percent – not across categories. Some growth is coming because of commodity price increase, it is double-digit in all categories,” Sodhi noted.