Diversified conglomerate ITC expects chocolate category to contribute 10 per cent to its food division revenue in next five years, a top company official said. The company had entered into chocolate category with brand Fabelle in May last year. “In five years time we should see a 10 per cent share of the total food business from chocolates,” ITC Foods Divisional Chief Executive Hemant Malik told PTI here. The company’s branded packaged food business, which spans categories like staples, spices, ready-to-eat, snack foods, bakery and confectionery, among others, reportedly clocked sales of over Rs 8,000 crore last fiscal. The chocolate industry in the country is pegged at Rs 8,000 crore and ITC is now looking at the mass premium space. “We will phase ourselves. There is no point in launching too many products. We will be looking at various spaces and be a full portfolio player (in chocolate category)…Overall market share in five years, we should have 15-20 per cent,” Malik said. The company manufactures chocolates from its Bengaluru facility at present and it has added another factory at Haridwar. “We have a factory in Bengaluru and we have also set-up a factory in Haridwar, which will help us enter into the mass range. We want to bring something new and differentiated to the market. We are developing new products and testing our products. Once we feel we are ready, we will come to the market,” he said.
On the revised GST rates for chocolates from a tax slab of 28 per cent to 18 per cent, he said, “we have corrected our prices accordingly. Once that happens, it becomes more accessible to the consumers and hopefully the market will increase”. ITC launched its luxury chocolate brand Fabelle at boutique stores in it hotels, which also serve as experience centres, and plans to expand its reach in the retail format. “We launched Fabelle one and half years back in the chocolate luxury space. We have seven boutiques that we have launched in our hotels. We are trying to take it outside (our hotels) and we are taking it to malls,” he said. The company has opened an outlet in Kolkata for its boxed chocolates and is opening a larger outlet in Delhi where people can buy boxed chocolates and also see the desserts, he said, adding that the company could also look at retailing boxed chocolates at airports.
The tobacco-to-hotels firm, which is focusing more on its non-tobacco businesses, aims to be an Rs 1 lakh crore company in the FMCG space by 2030, with the packaged foods contributing Rs 65,000 crore. It also plans to enter coffee category soon, and Malik said the company is evaluating opportunities in health and nutrition space for its existing categories. “We have already forayed into the health and wellness segment with some very niche and innovative products. We are formulating products which will have health benefits. While indulgence will play a large part in the food market, the nascent health segment is expected to grow and we will make a significant play in this area,” he said.