Markus Paschmann, Chief Sales Officer, Rational AG talks with Juhi Sharma about the Indian market, its challenges and expectations.
How is Indian market different from other markets?
Indian market is different from other international markets in terms of diverse food culture across the country and usage of professional kitchen equipments. In comparison to European market, the concept of automated cooking is pretty new in India, it is however dynamic and fast paced. It holds a unique position in the Indian economy. The changing food habits and lifestyle have given new opportunities to combi steamer technology. Now the Indian F&B industry is realising the advantage of cooking in ovens. For example Rational cooking appliances can help in maintaining consistent quality of food with less resources.
What are the key operational challenges in the Indian market?
Huge variety of dishes is one of the biggest challenges, as we have to customise the applications of the cooking appliance to be able to cook most of the Indian dishes/ cuisines, being prepared across the length and width of the country. Because of the fact that the Indian cuisine differs from the European, our Rational research and development department from Germany has been working together closely with master chefs from India. For example, in India we have a team of Application Chefs who are working daily on the cooking processes of traditional dishes. Thereby Rational can cater more and more the needs of Indian cuisine.
Lack of education and training about operating and full utilisation of the capacity of our unit is another hurdle to be overcome. To address this problem with purchase of every Rational cooking appliance, customer will also receive a service package they can use for free as long as they have a Rational appliance in their kitchen. ‘ServicePlus’ is a type of all-inclusive package that all customers will automatically receive once they buy a product from us. So for example, we will on request come to the customer’s kitchen and show the team how the appliances work. Even after that, further training is free. For example in the one-day seminars at our Academy Rational, our customers can get more and more new ideas for their menus or learn how they can further improve the processes in their kitchen.
Besides, lack of sufficient transportation, import issues and customs duties are some of the road blocks, disrupting our smooth functioning.
Apart from India, which is the other most challenging market?
China has been a difficult market to penetrate. One of the important features of Chinese cuisine is that bread is not an important part of the food, so it has been quite challengeing to inculcate the usage of our unit there. Apart from China, South East Asia, some countries in Latin America and Africa are also relatively low in the usage of combi steamer and these markets require awareness and education on the same. So far the combi steamer technology is not well established in those markets. However trends are moving towards an even more efficient production while quality has to remain constantly high. The demand for ‘Green’ energy saving products increases also within the kitchen industry.
What is your expectation with the Indian market?
Sweden, and UK are two markets where we have over 50 percent share and almost 90 percent penetration in contrast to 10 percent penetration level in the Indian market. We aim to replicate similar growth in Indian market and other emerging markets.