Sunil Agarwal, Director, Vinod Cookware, a leading manufacturer of pressure cookers and tawas and other kitchenware items, speaks to FoodService India about his company‘s new line of products, which are high on innovation and lifestyle quotient
Tell us about your company and its journey over the years.
Vinod Cookware has been in the market for more than two decades. It was set up with a vision to mitigate the daily struggle and challenges faced by housewives in traditional Indian Kitchens. Determined to provide innovative kitchen solutions, our products help to uplift the methods of working in a kitchen, which has helped us to build an instant connect with homemakers of all ages.
Today, after a decade’s experience and with a repertoire of over 400 products spread across four different categories, Vinod Cookware is established as one of the most preferred names in Indian as well as global markets. We have been successful in striking the right chord with consumers and are one of the most desirable brands in the cookware industry, standing strong at number three position in the country.
We have been the pioneers in “Sandwich Bottom” for pressure cookers and have the largest share of this product in the retail market across India. At the same time, Vinod Cookware also has been very aggressive in tapping the regional market segment with a competitive product line.
In the past, Vinod has also associated with popular TV actress ‘Sakshi Tanwar’ and currently with the very popular face of ‘Mandira Bedi’, which resonates with the brand’s philosophy of building a stronger and wider reach for the audience and in ensuring an immediate connect with every Indian home. Our devotion towards revolutionising kitchens, with quality and innovative products, continues and we at Vinod firmly believe in ‘Jo bhi ho Khana, Vinod mein hi Pakana’.
Who are your competitors in the industry and what is your strategy for facing off competition?
Vinod Cookware is now an established name in the Indian market. Our strategy for success has always been genuine products and loyalty towards customer’s faith in us. We strongly believe that though there are many players in Indian markets today, we are the only one to offer best prices for the products – value for money on every purchase by the consumer. At the same time, we have drawn up an appropriate strategy and planning for manufacturing and distribution of our products.
Talking about the kitchenware industry in India, what is the market positioning of your brand?
Our closest competitors could be Prestige and Hawkins. In fact we were the only brand in FY 13-14 that has shown double digit growth. A majority of other brands showed a de-growth (category based) in this period. We have captured roughly 12 per cent market share, and are at No. 2 position across India for the non-stick category.
For the year 2016, we have decided to position our brand for the health-conscious people in the health category. We will be coming up with several interesting and innovative products that will fit in in the category of health-conscious products.
What is the overall market size of the kitchenware industry and what is your share in that?
The kitchenware industry is growing many folds and the pace of growth has picked up in the past two decades. With many new technologies, designs and many more combinations of materials being used, the market is witnessing an ever growing demand.
We, at Vinod Cookware, have roughly captured 12 per cent of the total market share and are targeting a steady growth.
How have you priced your cookware range and how are your products different in comparison to those from other industry players?
We believe in understanding the consumer’s need and lifestyle. Keeping this in mind, our products incorporate the latest technology and offer the best experience to the end users. Before launching any product or category in India, we undertake an in-depth research to comprehend the products as per the needs of the consumers. Our strategy of working in sync with the mindset of Indian homemakers has worked very well for the brand. One such example is the launch of stainless steel Inner Lid Cookers in north India. We launched these cookers, designed in stainless steel over aluminum, as it’s healthier and also aids in cooking faster. This product understands the needs and lifestyle of the people in the northern belt of India. Similarly, all our products are built with stringent quality measures. Each of our product guarantees value for money and has been designed keeping durability and affordability in mind.
What have been the innovations that you have induced in your kitchenware range?
Talking about the innovative products, Vinod has launched a series of cookware which focus on easy cooking and also adding glamour to your kitchen. One such product is Marbilo Tawa of Vinod. It not only comes with a marble finish but also brings in a classy appeal to your cooking experience. Our ‘Sandwich Bottom’ for Pressure Cookers majorly focuses on the even distribution of heat while cooking, thus helping you to save on fuel cost. The company’s insistence on research and development gets for its products the edge of convenience and durability. Our products reflect a complete understanding of the Indian kitchen and are made using premium quality stainless steel.
Which new product categories are you planning to introduce?
The festive season saw a spate of products released by us. To name a few, we introduced Zest Superb Plus and Marbilo. In addition, and in line with the demands of our target audience in the northern regions, we have come up with inner lid cookers. These cookers retain the flavour of traditional cooking and have been crafted to meet the highest safety norms. One of our upcoming products will be Multi-Kadai, which is designed and tailored for Indian cooking habits. However, our focus products include Pressure Cookers and Tawas, which are made in accordance with the latest technology coupled with innovation
and in-depth research.
Who are your target consumers, and how do you plan to reach out to them?
Like the popular movie says ‘Anybody Can Dance’ we too believe ‘Anybody or Everybody can Cook’, with Vinod Cookware. Vinod products are the helping hands or your buddy in the kitchen, and they make your job simpler and faster. Knowing the complexities of Indian cooking, we target the 30+ age group, both male and female. Our products are priced affordably, and we have been very active through advertisements, social media as well as print media in reaching out our target customers. We believe in selecting the right medium, which helps us to convey our message rightly to our customers.
How fruitful was year gone by for the industry as well as for your company?
As a market leader in our core business, Vinod Cookware has seen no slowdown and is well placed to overcome the industry pressure. As I mentioned earlier, we are the only company in our segment to show a steady growth as compared to a de-growth for the industry.
Vinod Cookware has been growing steadily and strongly, aided by one of the biggest kitchenware manufacturing units in Palghar-Mumbai, which is spread over seven acres.
Vinod Cookware products are loved and appreciated, and hence the demand for our products has been continuously growing. To meet this need, we have recently bought land in Gujarat and are currently working aggressively on setting it up. Our current plant capacity is 6,000 metric tonnes but we have been using only about half of that capacity. Now, with the new plant coming on, we plan to use our capacity to the fullest. We would be extending our portfolio with newer range of cookware, some of them being five layer non-stick and also multi-kadai.
What are your financial targets for the year?
Vinod Cookware is a debt-free company. Our annual revenue is Rs. 200 crore. We plan to achieve at least 50 per cent more and targeting to achieve Rs. 300 crore by next fiscal.
Any new market segment that you are planning to target in 2016?
Vinod Cookware has created a niche for itself across the country. For 2016, we are looking at developing different market niches, each aiming at specific consumer groups. We are looking at introducing more lifestyle-enhancing kitchen items, which will increase in-store traffic and encourage consumers to linger longer in the outlets and encourage impulse purchases.
Tell us about your marketing initiatives? What kind of promotional activities will you go for?
We have been engaged in active 360 degree communication with our audience. To start with, we have a very active social media presence on key vehicles – wherein we strike the right chord with the consumers. It also helps us build first-hand experience via the digital presence.
Very recently, we also extended our activity to Food/Lifestyle bloggers. We had our First Bloggers Meet in Mumbai, wherein the brand received immense response from the online fraternity. Our activities on the online front are mapped keeping the audience and also the brand visibility in mind.
Next, we are also engaged in several B2B and B2C activities. That apart, we have also done some few shopper marketing based events at retail spend zones so as to build in the right touch points with the audience. Our various ATL and BTL activities are ongoing at premium locations as we understand how ‘experience’ helps in driving ‘sales’.
Lastly, we have also designed several outreach programmes for non-media promotions. The latest in line is our extensive advertising, which we are engaged in for our newest range. All these activities have ensured best visibility and awareness for our brand among our TG.