Established in 1963, Gits Food Products is believed to be a pioneer in packaged convenience food business by being the first company to introduce the concept of instant mixes in India. The first mover advantage and business philosophy followed over the generations have helped brand maintain it’s position. Sahil Gilani, Director – Sales & Marketing (third generation owner), Gits Food Products talks to Juhi Sharma about business’ evolution, strategies and future plans.
How did the brand name ‘Gits’ evolve?
Gits Food Products is a third generation family business company, owned by two families. The brand name is a combination of the two families’ last names, Gilani’s + Tejani’s=Gits. The company was started with a desire to provide quality convenience aid to the tedious Indian cooking back in 1963.
Please tell us about Gits’ business diversification.
Over the period, company has expanded its product lines and offerings to cater to the diverse Indian taste buds. Today Gits offer products under instant mixes, ready meals and dairy categories.
In 1963, Gits ventured into the domestic market with instant Indian food mixes such as idli, dosa and gulab jamun. Back then, soup mixes were also a part of our product portfolio but we discontinued them due to the lack of the product’s popularity in India at that time. Gits was actually the first company to launch soup mix in India, much before the MNCs entered this segment. In the 1970s, 10 more products were added to our instant mixes portfolio, and we further expanded it in the 1980s, when marketing of instant mixes began on a larger scale. In the 1990s, the company forayed into the dairy segment with the launch of pure ghee made from cow’s milk. In the 2000s we introduced ready-to-eat meals.
What business philosophy did you inherit from your previous generations, as a key to success in business?
“We will not sell what we don’t relish ourselves,” this philosophy has been followed by our founders since 1963 and have been passed on to the succeeding generations, which has helped Gits in becoming a common household name.Pursuing this business philosophy and motto we have been in a state of constant innovation to ensure that we are providing the best quality products to the consumers at the right price.
What is your outlook about online retailing of food and grocery products?
It seems promising and would help in the growth of packaged food brands. However, online retailing of food and grocery is in a very nascent stage in India and yet to again acceptability. I am hoping that if big online retailers such as Flipkart and Amazon include this section in their offerings, it would open up online space for food and grocery products. Online food and grocery websites.
Our brand is available on most online grocery stores that are currently operational such as localbanya.com and omart.in.
Which is your best performing retail format?
We have a pan India presence with a network of approximately 1000 distributors supplying to modern and traditional retail formats. The best performing retail format for Gits is traditional retail store or kirana, which generates 85 percent of our retail;l sales revenue and modern trade contributes around 12 -15 percent to our sales revenue. Some of our best performing modern grocers are Dmart, Big Bazar and Star Bazaar.
What are your key operational challenges in the Indian market?
For a quality conscious company like Gits, we feel the biggest operational challenge is procuring the right quality of raw materials. Due to the layers of supply chain and middle men between the manufacturer and farmers, we struggle to get the right quality raw material from the farms. Here, I feel we require a more robust supply chain with direct connect between the farmers and manufacturers. Food inflation is another operational challenge, which requires government to pay heed and take action. Lack of skilled labour is also a major challenge that can be catered by setting-up more food technology colleges, which can aid in getting skilled labour.
What are your future plans?
We are aggressively looking at further expanding our distribution in metros and smaller towns, pan India and increase our international footprint from existing 40 countries to over 50 countries. We plan to increase investment in the several imported and local machineries to double our production capacity and product offerings in the convenience food categories such as ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat in both international and national markets.