India is the quintessential ‘apple of my eye’ for the world’s business community because of its vastly untapped and latent markets covering a broad range of products. But one man’s uncanny gaze could gauge the potential of bright red tomatoes, consumed across the length and breadth of the nation.
Rohit Bhatla keeps a constant eye on the juicy tomato market. The Managing Director of Japanese company Kagome foods, has both the will and dedication to herald a new tomato era in India, having a vibrant population of 130 crores. Interestingly, the country has a bubbling population of connoisseurs of good food with a discerning palate.
Rohit Bhatla, MD of Kagome Foods India, says, “The Indian food processing market is growing faster than any other. Whether it is salads, home-cooked meals, ready-to-eat packets, or a specific ingredient-based offering, the country’s busy diaspora wants nutritious food, without investing too much time and effort into the process.”
According to industry estimates, the contribution of the food processing industry to India’s GDP through manufacturing has been more than 8% in FY17. The Indian food and retail industry is expected to grow to $482 billion by 2020.
The food processing market is ripe for the picking, and brands such as Kagome, that offer processed tomato foods, are leading the charge in making preservative free products. They leverage their own vertically-integrated value chain, which guarantees consistent quality and price throughout the year, without added preservatives, colour or flavour.
“The role of technology in scaling up operations in the sector will be tremendous. The government is Rohit Bhatla he added.
The majority of the tomatoes produced in the country are consumed fresh with the remaining being processed into products such as tomato paste, tomato juice, tomato sauce, tomato ketchup. Processed tomato products such as tomato ketchup are commonly served with food products such as burgers, sandwiches, pizza, fries, etc. Moreover, processed tomato products such as tomato paste and tomato sauce also have wide application in various Indian cuisines.
On the evolving market for processed tomatoes, industry experts say that there is a colossal demand as well as potential for processed tomato in India; local diverse market and increasing use of tomatoes in inland cuisine and many other factors like job opportunities by brands like Kagome make conducive environs for the growth of the tomato business.
According to them, the best part of the story is consistent offerings by processed tomato manufacturers to the consumers (B2B/B2C) despite the fluctuating rates of the tomatoes throughout the year.
Given this background, experts feel the expansion plans of Kagome in their second innings to India are bound to click. Kagome Foods India is the fully owned subsidiary of Kagome Japan, the No. 1 Tomato Company in Japan since 1899.
With a strong seed-to-table presence, combined with a Japanese lineage, the company offers global quality products at local prices. Kagome Goods India has an extensive, preservative-free portfolio of Crushed Tomatoes, Tomato Puree, Tomato Soup Base, Tomato Makhani Gravy Base, and Italian Pizza, Pasta Sauce.