Britannia to launch croissant in second half of this year

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New Delhi: Biscuit maker Britannia Industries Ltd is planning to launch croissant in packets during the second half of this year, said Gunjan Shah, vice president (sales) of the Kolkata-headquartered company.

Croissant—a French crescent-shaped roll made of sweet yeast dough that is usually consumed as a breakfast item worldwide—will mark Britannia’s formal entry into the breakfast market that the company has been eyeing for a long time. Britannia also sells cakes, breads, rusks and a few value-added dairy products. In India, croissants are mainly sold at restaurants and bakeries.

“Last year, we formed a joint venture with Greek company Chipita SA for producing and selling croissants. A factory is being set up currently,” Shah said.

The joint venture entity—Britchip Foods Ltd may also look at launching a few other products, according to Britannia’s fillings with BSE. Britannia holds 60% in Britchip Foods while Chipita has the remaining equity. After the 10-year lock-in, Britannia will have the right of first refusal if Chipita intends to sell its stake.

Britannia, which has been working on turning itself into a ‘total foods company’, is also eyeing new categories, Shah said. Earlier this month, Britannia managing director Varun Berry had said that the company aimed to launch about 50 new products by March 2020 as part of its plans to expand presence in bakery, non-bakery and micro-snacking categories, PTI reported.

“The focus on value-added dairy will continue,” Shah said. India’s dairy market has always been a difficult space for most companies, including the multinationals. Last month, Danone SA of France formally shut down its dairy business in India after three failed attempts to penetrate the market, Mint reported on 12 January.

However, Indian dairy market has always attracted big companies. In recent years, local entities of PepsiCo Inc. and Coca-Cola Co., home-grown biggies like ITC Ltd have entered the market hoping to grab a share from the dominant players, such as Swiss Packaged food company Nestle India Ltd and home-grown Amul brand with focus on the value-added segment.

According to Berry, dairy would contribute about Rs1,500 crore to Britannia’s annual sales in five years, from Rs400 crore at present, and could be as big as its core biscuits business over a period, the Britannia managing director told Mint in an interview on 14 February.

Britannia Industries reported a 19.60% increase in profit for the quarter ended 31 December to Rs263.65 crore while revenue grew 8.81% to Rs2,603.42 crore during the period, according to its filings with BSE. For the year ended 31 March 2017, its revenue stood at Rs8,684.39 crore.livemint