Functionality of the Product Matters Most For This Brand

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There is only one constant in most organizations – continuous change. India's palate makers – the spice industry leaders have also realized that there is no exception to this rule. While some are attempting to implement process improvement programs, others are focusing on higher customer satisfaction. The common denominator for all? Just as people adapt to cultural shifts, so must brands. Those need to be re-engineered to keep up with changing consumer habits. Today spice brands are experimenting with new ideas – going hyperlocal to selling digtially but these are still channels – their heart still lies with the product and how it can be adapted according to the needs of today's consumer. However, the biggest change is about changing themselves as most spice entrepreneurs have shared.

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Not just attractive packaging but the functionality of the product matters most for a brand to grow – this simple yet successful entrepreneurial strategy is still being followed by the of Desai Borther's Limited for the sustainable growth of Mother's Recipe. The pickle major is part of the rich legacy of Desai Borther's, founded in 1901. Observing the British smoking their pipes, Haribhai V Desai, the founder of the company, sensed the business opportunity in home grown tobacco, which was earlier imported from the west. The factory which was set up by him still produces the famous Desai bidis. Over the last 116 years, Desai Brother's Ltd has ventured into food processing, specialty chemicals, health care and hotels.

Inception of Mother's Recipe:

The company entered into the food segment in 2000, under the leadership of Sanjay Desai, executive director, Desai Bother's ltd, with Mother's Recipe. "My father regularly visited mandis outside Pune to learn about mangoes and procured them for making best quality pickles. This was how Mother's recipe was incepted," said Sanjana Desai, Head - Business Development, Desai Brothers Ltd- Food Division. Based out of Pune, the brand started marketing mostly in the western part of India. Initially, there were no takers for Mother's Recipe pickles as the market was already saturated. In 2003, the company expanded its distribution network in 20 states.

Today, the brand seems to have well understood the Indian consumers taste, which varies at every 200 km, citing the diversified culture of the country. Started with pickles, over the years, the brand has steadily expanded its product portfolio across 12 categories which include pickles to canned vegetables to mango pulp to ready to cook spice mixes and many others.

Convenient Packaging

To stay ahead in the competition, the brand has come up with innovative pouch and tub packaging which is unique, convenient and easy to use. Further, it also introduced instant mixes for today's on the go working generation. "What Mother's wanted earlier is different from what Mother's wants today," said Sanjana. The company is all set to invest heavily on processing units and penetrate its product deeper into the tier III cities and overseas market. It is also planning to expand its EBO presence across leading eight cities of the country with launching at least two stores in each city starting from 2018. Having clocked the revenue of Rs 250 crore in 2015-16, the brand is hoping to cross Rs 500 crore turnover by 2018 with the growth rate of 30-35 percent.

(This article was first published in the April issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)