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Veetee enters ready-to-eat segment

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UK-based Veetee Fine Foods, a global exporter of premium basmati rice, has forayed into the ready-to-eat (RTE) segment with its range of rice and curries. The company has invested $3 million in machinery and other infrastructure in its Indian manufacturing unit in Haryana.

“The company plans to introduce 6-7 dishes every month. In India, we don’t find any competition from similar brands in this segment. The company expects to sell two million pouches in this year itself,” Rachita Mittal, marketing manager, Veetee Fine Foods, told Indiaretailing.

The ready-to-eat dishes have already been launched in Kolkata. Soon, they will be rolled out in Bangalore, followed by markets such as Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai and Pune, across all modern retail formats and traditional outlets.

“The RTE segment in the country is worth Rs 200 crore. This could grow to Rs 500-600 crore in five years – by then, we hope to have a 30 per cent share of the market,” informed Aayushman Gupta, CEO, Veetee Fine Foods. He expects the international business to account for 70 per cent of sales.

Packed in microwavable pouches, the range consists of 15 north Indian curries (such as aloo choley and dal makhani) and three rice-based dishes (vegetable biryani, cumin rice and pulao) in 250 gm (rice) and 300 gm (curry) packs. These dishes have also been despatched to countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Switzerland and New Zealand.

Products in the pipeline include ready-to-eat combo meals, rice treats, ready-to-drink soups, sweets and desserts, south Indian dishes and global cuisines such as Chinese, to start with. “By next month, we plan to introduce a branded health drink. Also, research is on to make frozen parathas,” Mittal added.

Veetee Fine Foods produces 100,000 tonnes of rice, 70 per cent of which is exported. It exports to retail chains such as Tesco, Cosco and Wal-Mart. The company’s manufacturing unit in Haryana has a capacity to produce 60 lakh pouches per annum.

Other than India and the United Kingdom, the company has offices in Nigeria and Pakistan.

– Vishnu Rageev R, Bangalore Bureau

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