Leading a healthy lifestyle is no longer a Hollywood or Bollywood trend or Doctor’s Advice given on a regular visit; rather it’s being practiced by most GenNext workaholics who are trying to adopt a better way of living. With gym memberships, yoga classes, and managing to eat properly yet conveniently, the current pre-made, ready-to-eat and frozen food market is growing at a substantial pace to cater to time-pressed urban Indians and their hectic lifestyles. With juice and smoothie vendors opening up stalls in malls, and coffee outlets providing light salads and snacks as a part of revolutionised menus, convenience and health are driving innovation in modern food processing.
Although fresh fruit and vegetable vendors are at every corner in all Indian cities and towns, processed foods have become more a way of life for the average urban Indian. So, the next challenge facing retailers will be to provide healthier yet convenient eating options in the processed food Department.
India’s vast market of health and hygiene is now increasingly gaining rank on consumers’ priority lists while out grocery shopping. The host of established and leading players such as Nestle, HUL, PepsiCo, ITC, etc currently offering a variety of value-added, processed and packaged food in modern supermarkets such as More, Spencer’s, Reliance Fresh, Food Bazaar et al is a reflection of this trend.
According to India Brand Equity Foundation, the processed food segment in the country is estimated to be around USD 70 billion. Growth in the processed food sector has doubled to 13.7 percent during last four years; this growth is expected to accelerate, prompting the Ministry of Food Processing Industries to take up a number of initiatives to expand infrastructure and capacities in the immediate future. Taking a cue from the rising demand for convenient-but-nutrientrich foods, Himalya International Limited (HIL), one of the pioneers in India’s processed food sector, has taken precedence in ‘providing a healthy taste of life’ by launching products that are produced from allnatural sources, are chemical- and pesticide-free and processed using state-of-the-art technology to meet consumer needs of convenience and Health.
Although on-the-go meals have gained mass appeal amongstconsumers, the health conscious and healthy eaters on the go don’t have as many options. This rarely-tapped segment of the market is waiting to flourish as health- and weight-conscious consumers begin to rise as a result of the over-abundance of the ‘packaged food/ready-to-eat meals’ monster that has taken over India in recent years.
To cater to the rising consciousness of health-inclined consumers in the Indian market, HIL is entering the domestic food market with the launch of two new value-added brands – Himalya Fresh and 1Daily. In the first phase, the company has launched fresh mushrooms, frozen appetizers, traditional sweets, real fruit yogurt, full cream buffalo curd and paneer under the brand name of Himalya Fresh. The mushrooms, which are cultivated and picked from the company’s own climate-controlled climate facility, remain fresh, as they are processed within two hours of picking and have a varying shelf life of five days to 18 months, depending upon the packaging and variant. Apart from mushrooms, Himalya Fresh also offers baby potatoes, which are blanched, stuffed and fried. Fresh paneer – a nutritious product with 25 percent fat and 15 days shelf life – also figures in the menu.
“We are the first amongst food companies in India to produce frozen mushrooms and vegetables, cheese, curd and fruit yogurt from fresh buffalo milk as well as breaded appetizers,” shared Manmohan Malik, managing director, Himalya International Limited. To complete the meal, traditional Indian sweets such as milk cake, kaju katli, bhoda, rasmalai, gulab jamun and jalebi are also part of the Himalya Fresh’s portfolio and have a shelf life ranging from 30 days to 180 days. To further propogate the importance of a healthy lifestyle, HIL is also foraying into the health and body sector by being actively involved in nutraceutical and dietary supplements. Under brand name 1 Daily, HIL’s nutraceutical supplements comply with international standards set up by WHO and USFDA on nutritional supplements.
Available in four variants, namely 1Daily for Men, 1Daily for Women, 1Daily for Healthy Heart and 1Daily for Healthy Bones, 1Daily products provide separate essential supplements for men and women, catering to their distinct anatomy, physical, emotional, biological and physiological requirements. The nutritional supplements for women are richer in Calcium, Magnesium, Iron & Vitamins A, B & E while the nutritional supplements for men are richer in Zinc, Lycopene, Selenium,Vitamin E & C. All 1Daily products are 100% vegetarian and have31 to 34 essential micro-nutrients.
Overview HIL, a USD 18 billion company, marked its presence in the business in the year 1979, when Man Mohan Malik, the founder, started with a small business venture, manufacturing chemicals and mineral products. Since then the company has continued on a path of expansion and progression. The company further diversified in 1986 under the supervision of Sanjiv Kakkar, president and COO of HIL. Today the company is trying To leave its mark, using its genius in the processing of frozen foods business in the domestic market. However, until a few years ago, Himalya International was majorly a processed food exporter. The company has been exporting its products to USA, Canada and UK for the past 11 years.
HIL is also an importer and marketer of a few flourishing international brands in the country. Apart from frozen food processing, Himalya international has been in the vanguard of contract farming. The company has over 100 farmers who are contracted to the company. Their agricultural staff of ten people is headed by senior agri-scientists with over 30 years of experience in the agro field. A pioneer in multiple instances, the company prides itself on rigidly adhering to the highest quality standards and food safety practices. An ISO 9001:2000 certified company with all its plants complying with international GMP, HACCP, GAP and USDA Dairy import permits, HIL went public in 1995 and is currently listed on all major stock exchanges of India. The company currently has over 12,000 shareholders and over 500-plus employees. It operates from its administrative and production base at Paonta Sahib, Himachal Pradesh in India and marketing base at Princeton, New Jersey in the United States, besides via several consultants from all over the world.
Although most FMCG companies have yet to fortify their products with innovative ingredients to meet the rising trend of ‘healthier lifestyles’ taking over India, companies such as HIL have already started on the road ahead to pre-empt what most analysts believe will be a major consumption trend in the years to come.
To meet the ever evolving and mutating demand patterns of the massive Indian consumer base, along with sharpening its focus on innovation, HIL is also expanding production capacities with a food processing plant set to come up in Gujarat shortly.