iD Fresh Food, the brand best known for its idli and dosa batters, is expanding rapidly in India and abroad. The brand has also recently launched new bread products and forayed into the dairy category, with paneer and curd offerings.
BestMediaInfo.com spoke to Rahul Gandhi, CMO, iD Fresh Food, about the company’s expansion plans and how the brand is looking to market its products. Recently, on World Idli Day, the consumer brand had launched a trust-based campaign titled TransparenSee. The five-day long campaign offered a real-time view into its batter factory located in Bengaluru.
Gandhi also spoke at length about the idea behind the campaign and what made them follow through on this unique idea.
“Our marketing strategy revolves around offering the consumer consistent product quality at an affordable price, at a store that is conveniently located for them. Make sure they have the trust in the brand that has taken iD this far. That is the contour of the marketing strategy. As far as the medium is concerned, I think most of the FMCG companies have moved to digital. Given that we are a very metro-heavy market, in terms of distribution and availability, a lot of our spends are moving towards digital,” said Gandhi.
As per the brand, in FY 2021-22, iD clocked a revenue of Rs 410 crore, with its flagship idli and dosa batter accounting for nearly 33% of the sales.
Gandhi shared the expansion plans for the coming years and their priorities while ensuring growth at a fast pace.
“We are hoping we touch about Rs 1,000 crore in revenue in two-three years. We are currently growing at 40-50% year-on-year and we’d like to expand to a greater number of cities and deliver our products and strengthen the brand,” he added.
The brand has now also expanded into the UAE and US markets. Gandhi shared that they will also launch the products in a few South-East Asian countries soon. “Strategically we would like to build the batter as a very big category. Most of the batter in India is still homemade, iD is going to make sure consumers find value in buying fresh, preservative-free products that we make,” he said, stressing on the point that Indian market will remain its top priority.
“In UAE our parathas and chapatis are doing really well. We also have frozen parathas hitting the US market pretty soon. We are also looking at expanding to South East Asia soon in the next 12 to 24 months,” he added.
Upon being asked about the company’s decision to enter the dairy category, as it has a number of established players, he said, “Whenever we enter a category, our endeavour is to always offer chemical-free, preservative-free experience. When we launched paneer, we asked if there is a need for a chemical, preservative-free product. Despite it being a very competitive market, there is a segment of consumers who appreciate the fact that we make paneer which is free from any chemicals.”
The executive also stated that their decision to expand their product portfolio to include breads, which also has a high number of players, was taken with the goal of offering high-value products which are beneficial for the end consumers.
“Similarly, the bread category has been dominated for 30-40 years. So, if a player has to enter, they have to be something unique. So, we try to take a position that might not be fast, but we are launching premium, healthy products.”
According to Gandhi, the challenges of building a brand on digital medium are growing. He said that digital is no different from other mediums, as one has to make communication that is relevant to the medium and appeals to the consumer. The brand actively makes use of YouTube and Facebook channels for maximising reach, but when it comes to newer products or building a preference, they rely on influencers and product integrations.
“The only thing that has changed about digital is that it has become far more competitive today. Everyone wants to advertise in the space, however, the space itself is growing. The awareness of digital medium is something that is new and to be effective in any medium you need to convey to the consumers the right message at the right time. This is what we try to do in our communications,” he added.
The brand’s Transparensee campaign had garnered massive eyeballs as it offered a live real-time view into its batter making factories. Within 48 hours of launching the campaign, the brand recorded over 50 thousand virtual visitors to its factory. However, the company had also been subjected to online trolling recently wherein it was alleged that the brand uses banned meat products in its offerings.
Upon being asked if the campaign was carried out to give a fitting response to the trolls, Gandhi said, “It was actually for celebrating World Idli Day, this is an idea that PC Mustafa (Founder) had for many years. We had been planning it for the last 5-6 months because during Covid we had many requests about people visiting our factories. We thought is there a way to take our process to every home, and we got this together.”
He further spoke about online trolling and how marketers have to be ready to deal with every challenge, no matter how bad it gets.
“Brands sometimes get dragged into scenes that have nothing to do with it. It is the part and parcel of a marketer to face these challenges today. We as a brand dealt with it promptly when the problems arose,” added Gandhi.