MTR eyes Rs 500 crore by 2012

20 Oct,2011

By Tuhina Anand

Haldirams, ITC, Frito Lays and numerous local players in the Rs 6000 crore snacks category now have competition from MTR, which is known for its South Indian instant food mixes and spices. With its rich heritage, the brand MTR has now forayed into the South Indian snacks category, which can be understood as the category is growing at a rate of more than 40 percent a year. Also MTR has been trying hard to revamp its image post its takeover by Norwegian company Orkla. The company, which was largely restricted to South India, has in the last few years gone national and has revamped its offering, packaging and has been highly visible on the mass media platform. So the move is not a surprise, considering that its arch family rival Maiyya’s too have forayed into the snacks category and at around the same time.

If one looks at the traditional snacks market, it clocks at Rs 3600 crore, growing at 36 percent, thus clearly the biggest player in this category. South Indian snacks remains a market of small brands or unorganized, as no branded player has seriously ventured into this market. While snacking is a big habit in the South, the branded South Indian snacks is the most under-developed market at 6 per cent value share of the total national traditional branded market. Haldiram’s can be seen as the only national player offering traditional snacks but in their portfolio, North Indian snacks dominate with the South Indian traditional snack category having minimal or no presence.

Mr Vikram Sabherwal, VP Marketing MTR Foods Pvt Ltd, explains, “While evaluating various future growth opportunities consumer research clearly pointed to a good fitment between South Indian snacks and MTR. Looking at the potential of the market there is an opportunity for MTR to play a role in the ‘South Indian traditional snack category’.”

“Snacking is heavily entrenched in the Indian food habit and hence there is immense potential in this category. We expect that snacks will become integral to MTR’s product offering and help achieve our target of touching Rs 500 crore by 2012,” said Mr Sabherwal.

The company will leverage MTR’s distribution strength and use it to effectively cover the snacks outlet universe. Initially the snacks range has been launched in Karnataka and at later date will be extended to other states.

On these products having takers beyond South India, Mr Sabherwal said, “Food in India is going through many changes. We as Indians are becoming experimentative with our food, hence these product will find national acceptance. Secondly some of our products like chakli already have a national footprint.”

The products launched under snacks category include Chakli, Butter Chakli, Spinach Chakli, Khara Boondi, Ompudi, Avalakki Mixture, Thick Sev and Cornflakes Mixture. MTR is offering its consumers the promise of crispy and crunchy snacks made with the latest technology in production and packaging. MTR is hoping that with their superior offering consumers will shift from the unbranded to the branded segment, hence expanding the market.

Meanwhile, MTR has already started advertising the snacks category and has roped in Kannada film stars Upendra and Priyanka to advertise the range.

Concluding, Mr Sabherwal said, “We at MTR will consistently drive our key categories like mixes, spices and masalas along with snacks. We are also constantly evaluating new products/categories to delight our consumers.”

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