CMD, Harley Foods, Soumiik Mitra wants a big bite of the Indian snack market. Having tasted success in Gujarat, the young and dynamic chairman and managing director of Harley Foods is readying for a Pan–India launch of his Harley brand of chips and namkeens (salted snacks).
“We are planning to have a Pan–India launch by 2017 and will cover 60 per cent of the domestic market by the next financial year,” says Mitra.
The Harley Foods chief is counting on his over two-and-a-half decades of rich experience as a professional in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) segment.
His Surat, Gujarat-based Company has established strong footprints across 12 States in the western, southern and northern parts of the country. The over 23 variants of chips and salted snacks that Harley makes, which have materialized after extensive re-search on regional tastes and popular flavours, are finding their way across these markets. The snack-maker is now focusing on building markets in West Bengal and eastern India to attain nationwide presence.
Last September, Harley Foods shot into the limelight with the big-bang launch of its products in Mumbai.
Mitra had roped in top celebrities from the world of film and television to unveil Harley Products in the country’s commercial capital.
Glamour apart, a lot of thought seems to have gone into the making and marketing of Harley’s snacks. The brand’s catchy tagline, Bache Khush Toh Hum Khush, aptly targets children, the most powerful and influential market-movers today. Besides, the company has introduced high-quality, mouth savouring, and healthy snacks at an attractive price point of Rs 5 per packet.
“The idea is to get the product out and moving in the market. Premium products of higher price points will be gradually launched as our snacks gain popularity in the market,” says Mitra.
As Harley Foods expands its product basket and taps markets across the country, it is set to touch turnover of Rs 40 crore by this financial year. Be- sides, the snack-maker is eyeing turn- over of Rs 100 crore in the next year and Rs 500 crore by 2020. The company is also planning to tap international markets, like the Middle East and the USA, and add 20 per cent overseas revenue to its total turnover.
The company’s national ambitions will have to overcome many challenges. The domestic snack market is overcrowded and fiercely competitive. Apart from innumerable unorganised players, Harley Foods will have to stand out among entrenched organised companies, such as Haldiram’s, Parle Products, ITC, Balaji Wafers, MTR Foods, Maiyas, Frito- Lay India and the like. Besides, stringent norms of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India have raised the cost of compliance for food and snack companies.
Amid these challenges, is Harley Foods biting off more than it can chew? Harley’s expansion plans and big targets do appear too ambitious for a mere four-year-old company. But Mitra’s strong FMCG background and his business model make Harley Foods’ plans and targets reasonable and achievable too.