Amy’s Kitchen Inc., the California-based manufacturer of organic ready-made frozen foods, is looking to set up a manufacturing unit in India in next couple of years as the company is planning to develop India as a processing hub for exports.
“A manufacturing unit in India will not only serve demand here but can also be the processing hub for exports to West Asian countries, Thailand, Japan and Australia,” said Paul Schiefer, senior director (business development), Amy’s Kitchen. At present, the company imports products to India from its factory in California. The privately held company that manufacturers only vegetarian convenience frozen foods is yet to finalise its quantum of investment for the Indian manufacturing unit. “Initially, we may start with a small processing unit with 50-100 people and expand later,” Schiefer added.
Amy’s Kitchen, which entered the Indian market in September 2016, currently sells only in New Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). “We are now entering Mumbai, and Bengaluru is next. Our focus will remain in the top Indian metro cities in the foreseeable future,” said Schiefer.
In India, Amy’s Kitchen sells through modern retail chains such as Big Bazaar, Modern Bazaar, Le Marche, HyperCITY, Foodhall and 24Seven convenience store in NCR. The company’s products, including pizzas and enchiladas, are priced between Rs 200 and Rs 300 in India.
“To expand our retail reach, we are planning to tap the cash-and-carry chains, HORECA segment (hotel, restaurant and cafeteria) soon. We also want to get into home delivery. But, we’ll need a partner for that, maybe an e-commerce firm which has a strong home delivery supply chain,” said Schiefer. The company also has plans to tap canteens at workplaces and educational institutes through local partners. India’s branded heat-and-eat or ready-made meals industry is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 22% to reach Rs 640 crore in fiscal year ended March 2019, from around Rs 237 crore estimated in fiscal year ended March 2014, according to a report by research firm Value Notes. The study stated rapid urbanisation, and increasing disposable income as the key reasons for growth of this industry.
India’s heat-and-eat food industry is dominated by companies like Kolkata-based ITC Ltd., Bengaluru-based MTR Foods, New Delhi-based Kohinoor Foods, and Tasty Bite Eatables.