Wednesday 26th September 2018

    Sresta Natural Bio bets big on Rs 400 cr organic foods biz

    Organic foods market in India is estimated to be over $0.50 billion (nearly Rs 400 crore) and is projected to treble in the upcoming years, reaching up to $1.36 billion over the next four years (by 2020). Overall, the organic foods segment in the country witnessed an estimated 25 per cent to 30 per cent growth in the recent years and is now set to grow 50 per cent year on year. Indians are increasingly demanding healthier food and the government –both at the national level and at state levels are pushing for and supporting organic farming by all means. As a result of all these, organic farming is also on the rise in the country. Read On ..

    There is little wonder therefore that the Hyderabad-based Sresta Natural Bio Products, one of India’s largest organic food companies, and makers of India’s largest organic brand- ‘24 Mantra’, is gearing up to tap this fast growing market more aggressively. ‘24 Mantra’, the leading organic food brand from the stable of Sresta, already has a 65 per cent market share in organic foods business in the country, claims its chief executive officer (CEO)- N Balasubramanyam.

    The company, which works with 45,000 farmers cultivating 2,25,000 acres across 15 states of India, at present offers more than 200 products under its flagship brand and the number is growing by close to 15 each year, says Balasubramanyam. At present, the company has 25 processing facilities, of which 4 are company owned and the rest 21 are third party facilities. It has been continuously expanding its farming base as well as processing facilities.

    This is not without a reason. Consuming organic food might have been perceived to be a trend few years ago, but now it has become an essential medicinal quotient of consumer’s life. This shift has happened recently as consumers are becoming increasingly aware on what they consume and how it impacts their health in the long term. Interestingly, consumers are also relying on organic food as the 21st century medicine to beat lifestyle related diseases like cancer, diabetes and obesity. Nielsen’s 2015 Global Health & Wellness Survey reveals that consumers’ mindsets about healthy foods have shifted and they are ready to pay more for products that claim to boost health and fitness. This idea of using food to manage health has resulted in the growing consumer interest in fresh, natural and organic products.

    "Indian Consumers have become very savvy. Though economic concerns remain in the forefront, health and wellness concerns continue to increase in importance. Consumers understand a food’s nutritional value (in helping to lower blood pressure, for example), as well as overall health risk. Recent reports also reveal that consumers are ready to pay more for healthy foods including those that are GMO-free, have no artificial coloring/flavors and are deemed all natural", says Balasubramanyam.

    The story is more or less the same all over the world. And therefore Sresta is retailing its entire range in over 15 countries including the US, Canada, Europe, Middle East, GCC, Mauritius, Reunion Islands, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa.

    But at the back end, what is their farming model and why is it so unique. Balasubranian explains that from their end, they closely monitor the organic methods and ensure the from seed to kitchen, every detail is given the attention it deserves. Actually, its practices stem from its values and beliefs – adhering to organic integrity, earning consumer’s trust and creating a sustainable platform for its farmer friends.

    Secondly, the company ensures quality by choosing the right seed, soil and climate. This is very important because every crop and food has its soil and climate determined by nature. Like cotton needs black soil, so also the range of crops our farmers grow. In fact, its emphasis is on taking maximum advantage of the varied agro climatic zones and produce crops that are native to the particular place and also take into consideration that it will yield quality produce.

    The CEO adds: "The cornerstone of our farming approach is to build soil fertility and restore natural balance. We ensure our farmers adopt crop rotation practices and use diversity of crops effectively. We discourage monoculture where repeated cycles of the same crop or set of crops only strengthens the pest and disease complex. Pest and disease load goes up in monoculture. Rotation of crops restores soil fertility and the natural balance. Farmers generate their own manure and uses of farm pest control methods are based on locally available plants and if necessary use Bio agents (natural enemies of pests & diseases).Our practices have successfully led to improving the carbon content in the soil from meager levels of less than 0.5 per cent."

    Buoyant over the success of its farming methodology and business strategies, Sresta is now seamlessly foraying into newer segments like ‘Ready to Cook’, ‘Bites’ (Snacking Range), ‘7 Grain Atta’, ‘Methi Atta with 7 Grains’, ‘Quinoa’ and so on.


    - Debhota Mukherjee (TradeBriefs Bureau)


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