What are your views on the Ready-to-eat (RTE) food industry in India? What are the trends and challenges in the RTE bakery segment including the frozen bakery options?
Looking at the current market trends, the RTE industry portrays a very promising picture. In the last decade, the RTE category has grown at a CAGR of 12 percent. The bakery segment is riding this blossoming wave of the RTE industry. This proliferation in the demand for bakery products can be attributed to the growing working population coupled with the changing lifestyle in eating patterns especially in metro cities. More and more people are resorting to instant, time-saving consumption options that are catered with the help of readily available RTE bakery products. The millennial population is also contributing a major share in driving the popularity of bakery products. The young consumers are acutely health-conscious and are showing a great affinity for high-quality, organic, gluten-free, and vegan bakery items.
The increasing penetration of other processed food alternatives is poised to be a challenge for the bakery segment.Bakery products, such as biscuits, bread, rusks, etc., are usually consumed as snacks. However, with the growing potential of the Indian market in processed food, the launch of other packaged and ready-to-eat foods such as oats, dry fruits, granola bars, frozen fruits, etc., is expected to hamper the Indian bakery products market.
As bakery is one of the most affordable RTE foods, how are you leveraging this opportunity?
The affordable price point is an added advantage for bakery products which garners a lot of scope for exploring, experimenting, and innovating new products. In recent years, there has been a growing preference for healthier bakery options amongst consumers. As a result, the industry is continuously modernizing and changing to come up with new product ranges and services packed with high nutrient value to meet the demand of the consumers. We at Baker By Chance, practice bakery fortification to come up with whole wheat and multigrain products for health-conscious Indians. In line with this development, we offer Artisan bread harnessing our expertise in baking techniques while experimenting with varieties of flour and customizing the shape and ingredients as per the customer’s requirement. Likewise, to satiate the burgeoning diversity of tastes and preferences, we also personalize the products by replacing dairy products with coconut milk, almond milk, and oat milk for those intolerant to dairy products. Therefore, there is no dearth in the option available and we strive to continuously innovate and add new items to our bakery menu.
As liquid sugar is an important element in RTE bakery food products, how well are you maintaining its limits in your bakery as per the FSSAI standards? What kind of measures do you take to ensure the health and nutritional components of your RTE bakery?
As stated above, we practice fortification of bakery products keeping the health of our customers at the top of the priority list. In order to meet the FSSAI standards, we keep the sugar level low by making use of healthy alternatives like honey, jaggery, date syrup, etc. to sweeten the food. And for maintaining the overall health and nutritional component of the bakery product, we replace refined flour with edible fiber-rich ingredients, edible cereals, grains, and pulses or their flour. Also, we decorate the food with herbs, seasonings, fruit and fruit products, edible vegetable and vegetable products, dry fruits, nuts, and nut products to enhance the taste while retaining the nutritional value.
How do you leverage the technology to enhance the safety and stability of your bakery food?
Considering that bakery products come with very limited shelf life, we have technology in place to ensure the freshness of the products while reducing the unwanted wastage of food. As bakery products are highly sensitive to moisture and temperature, efficient machines are deployed to maintain the humidity and temperature within the required bracket. We also make use of cutting-edge equipment to enable mass production by easing up specific processes like dough kneading, mixing ingredients, etc.
In your view, how is the quick service restaurant (QSR) industry performing?
The current market trends are very much in favor of the QSR industry. Given the increased market penetration owing to value pricing, younger demographics, and a surge in online ordering of food, it is estimated that the QSR will make a bigger share of the food services market. With time the sector has come up with a strong supply chain and flexibility of customization in operating models and store sizes. Owing to these favorable market conditions, the QSR industry is foraying in tier II and III cities that is aimed at driving the growth of the industry.
According to you, after the pandemic what kind of shifts the QSR industry has witnessed? What kinds of trends dominate the industry currently?
Unlike the disruptions faced by other sectors, the pandemic gave the desired boost to the QSR industry. Even before the pandemic, the QSR industry had the infrastructure and delivery services in place that helped it recover even against the crisis. It was better equipped to adapt to the government guidelines aimed at curbing the disease. Hence, even against the dine-in restrictions, the industry was able to balance out the situation with the delivery services.
With the relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions, people are once again moving back to the dine-in culture but with a whole new experience as a result of the pandemic. Now there is a provision to order food via QR scanning from the convenience of the seat without having to wait in a long queue to place the order as done in the pre-COVID era.
What are the future plans of the RSPL group in the RTE food segment after the launch of Baker by chance? Are you planning to diversify your RTE/RTC product portfolio?
In the near future, we plan to lay a strong foothold in the market by venturing into offline stores. Along with this we are determined to take BBC to high end hotels and restaurant chains, marking our presence in the B2B segment. Plans for deeper penetration are in place where we will be coming with multiple new stores in the next few months.
In addition to expanding our presence in the market, Baker by Chance will also diversify its offering by including continental section in the menu entailing pizza, pasta, salads, wraps, and many more.