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Britannia to launch healthier breads in India

By Ankush Chibber , 12-Jul-2012

Indian food giant Britannia Industries will target the healthy foods segment for its next stage of growth, starting with healthier bread.

The company announced today that it would soon roll out new range of healthier breads across the country that would include multi-fibre, multi-grain, whole wheat, and honey oats variants.

Britannia’s category director for health and wellness, Anuradha Narasimhan said that the company was focusing on the healthy foods segment, which it estimates to be worth US$1bn as of date. “This segment is growing at about 15% annually.”

Narasimhan was speaking at the launch of its vitamin-enriched bread in the northern markets of India, which include Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, considered the biggest bread consuming states in India. Britannia claims to control 50% of India’s US$250m bread market.

Highlighting how the company had taken its first step towards the healthy foods segment with this new product, Narasimhan said that the product has been fortified with 10 essential vitamins.

Safe and sustainable bet

Mrinalini Manral, a Mumbai-based nutritionist, told FoodNavigator-Asia that Britannia could be making a very safe and sustainable bet with the focus on healthier breads.

“The trend in India that we are seeing now is that the urban and semi-urban populace is more health conscious and is well aware of the relationship between nutritious food and optimal health,” she said.

“Then there is the spectre of conditions such as obesity, diabetes and cardiac problems that are mostly caused by lifestyle choices. Combined that with soaring healthcare costs, and you can understand why India’s people want to eat healthy. And bread is almost a staple,” she added.

Healthier breads have institutional support as well. In January this year, a guidance issued by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) called for technological innovations and better ingredients to keep pace with healthier consumption trends.

“There is need to develop low­cost but healthy bakery products using locally available nutritious ingredients such as millets, full bran wheat, honey and greens. Once such products are standardised then the technology can be traversed to small bakery entrepreneurs in the rural and urban areas,” the guidance stated.

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