India Focus: Nourish's expansion to the South, local alcohol brands trending, fears of palm oil demand dip and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo

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Nourish's expansion to the South, local alcohol brands trending, fears of palm oil demand dip and more feature in our round-up. ©Getty Images
Nourish's expansion to the South, local alcohol brands trending, fears of palm oil demand dip and more feature in our round-up. ©Getty Images

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Nourish's expansion to the South, local alcohol brands trending, fears of palm oil demand dip and more feature in our round-up.

Nourish-ing the South: Indian edible oils firm reveals grand plans to grow new packaged foods portfolio to 400 SKUs

One of the largest edible oil firms in North India BL Agro has turned its attention to growing its packaged food products portfolio from the current 70-plus SKUs to 400 within the next five years, revealing South India as a crucial target market for this range.

BL Agro is best known in India for its flagship Bail Kolhu mustard oil brand, and edible oils has been the firm’s main business since its establishment about 50 years back, being especially popular in North India.

More recently, the firm launched a line of packaged food products under the brand Nourish in 2019, and believes that this range is the key for it to achieve the same level of recognition in South India as well.

“We have gained and retained the trust of consumers in North India [for many years] and from now until March 2022, the main area of focus for us will be on South India,”​ BL Agro Managing Director Ashish Khandelwal told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

‘Back to normal’: Local brands trending in Indian alcohol sector but mid-range drinks feeling the squeeze

Locally-produced wines, beers and spirits are currently on the up-and-up in India’s alcohol industry, with millennial consumers in particular preferring these over international brands – but drinks not in the premium or low price categories continue to face a slump that is not expected to pick up any time soon.

India’s alcohol industry was hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years as the government was forced to issue various restrictions including alcohol bans and food service closures for a prolonged period of time in addition to being hit by multiple waves of the virus leading to record numbers of cases and deaths – but according to an industry expert, things are well on their way to ‘getting back to normal’.

“Consumers are returning to the markets to buy alcohol and stock up, some businesses are also stocking up – things are getting back to normal, despite the many changes we saw during the peak of the pandemic,”​ Siddharth Banerji, Managing Director of one of India’s largest liquor firms Kyndal Group, told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

‘Bold move’: Indian industry fears local palm oil demand dip as duty change favours soft oils

The Indian palm oil industry is concerned that palm oil demand in the country may dip and lose out to edible soft oils in the short term given the higher duties it is subject to after a recent levy revision by the local government.

Over the past two years and through the COVID-19 outbreak, the palm oil sector in India has undergone multiple changes to its taxation structure due to inflation and prices hitting record highs. The local oils and fats sector saw its inflation rate rise from 14% to 35% between February and June 2021, forcing the government to act after public outrage over the situation.

Palm oil has also been one of the most significantly affected sectors in the country, as the majority of palm oil in India is used in the HORECA and foodservice sectors, most of which were closed due to COVID-19 lockdowns leading to significant demand restrictions.

“Palm oil demand in India took a big hit in 2020 by about 2.5mn MT due to COVID-19 [and] the sector has also undergone many duty structure revisions,” ​Indian Vegetable Oil Produce Association (IVPA) Vice President Vipin Gupta said during a recent Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) virtual event.

Bringing immunity to the boil: India’s Avid Nutrilabs gears up for functional coffee exports

Indian start-up Avid Nutrilabs is forecasting sales of its functional coffee, which contains Kerry’s Wellmune ingredient, to grow by 10 times as it gears up to distribute products overseas.

Marketed under the JOMO brand, the range of functional instant coffee products are targeted at immunity and stress concerns. First launched in India in April, sales of JOMO reached 2,000 boxes (24,000 sachets) within six months.

With coffee being the most popular drink worldwide, with two billion cups are consumed daily, the firm is hoping to launch JOMO into Singapore, US and UAE next year, after receiving positive feedback from a pilot launch in these markets.

Combining domestic and export sales, Avid Nutrilabs’ chief scientific officer Akshay T Mutt is optimistic that sales will increase by 10 times next year.

Start-ups focus: The Top 10 APAC food and beverage start-up and entrepreneurial stories in 2021

FoodNavigator-Asia brings you the top 10 most-read start-ups stories from the food and beverage industry in 2021, including several Indian start-up food and beverage firms such as Habbit, Axia Foods and more.


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