AMN / New Delhi
ITC Ltd, the maker of Aashirvaad atta, Sunfeast biscuits plans to launch branded packaged rice this year, entering a segment vacated by Hindustan Unilever Ltd two years ago, REPORTS LIVEMINT.
The Kolkata-based company will sell both basmati and non-basmati rice and, in future, introduce ready-to-make versions of rice-based dishes.
“(Branded) rice will be launched by end of this year,” S. Sivakumar, group head (agriculture and information technology business), ITC, said in an interview to the paper.
This marks the entry of the firm into one more low-margin commodity market after atta (wheat flour), which is already crowded with more than 100 brands.
Rice, however, is not an entirely new business for ITC. The agri-business division of ITC already exports both basmati and non-basmati rice to Africa and the Middle East. The company’s agri business unit has a nationwide network for procurement and logistics connecting rice millers, brand owners and traders, according to the company’s website.
ITC’s decision to enter the branded packaged rice segment comes about two years after yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved Ltd entered the market. On the other hand, HUL, India’s largest packaged goods maker, decided to exit the business as part of its strategy to divest non-core businesses.