Japanese food processing and seasoning company, Ajinomoto has chalked out expansion plans in the domestic market under the popular Hapima brand besides strengthening its distribution network, a top official said. The company which has a manufacturing facility at Mahabalipuram near the city showcased Hapima Veg Masala Mix Varuval, an all in one seasoning mix, at the second edition of Global Investors Meet held last month.
"This is first pure vegetarian masala mix for Tamil Nadu consumers. We have started expansion of Varuval mix..", company Marketing Manger, Govinda Biswas told PTI. Elaborating further, he said, under the Hapima brand, the company was retailing MSG (Monosodium glutamate) and later expanded into fried rice mix.
"Currently, Hapima is ranked Number 1 in fried rice mix in terms of market share and in terms of volume also," he claimed. Following a pilot study undertaken across Tamil Nadu, the company introduced the Veg Masala Varuval Mix which is a combination of selected spices and ingredients for the State. "This is like a side dish. As per our consumer research, each household consumes four to five dish varuval and poriyal( curries).We found that this dish is a very lucrative category. It is a huge potential (market for us)", he said.
The company besides serving the Tamil Nadu market would also launch the mix in Karnataka this month, he added. Asked on the production capacity of the new product, he said, the plant in Mahabalipuram was operating at 50-60 per cent of capacity and with the launch of the Vegetarian masala mix it can be increased to 80-90 per cent.
On the expansion of retail network, he said, the company was having 70 distributors in State which has been expanded to 110. "Our focus is on kirana shops. We are focusing on rapid expansion. We are planning to expand distribution to 210 across Tamil Nadu by next year," he said. Besides serving Tamil Nadu, Ajinomoto products are sold in Telengana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Mumbai, Delhi, Aizawal and Kolkata..
(With inputs from agencies.)