Opportunities in processed food enable Orkla’s expansion & investments in India

Orkla ASA, the giant Norwegian branded consumer goods manufacturer, reported that it is keen on securing strategic investments in India in its bid to expand and increase its global presence. According to a senior company official, the company aims at expanding its products and services in order to gain from the opportunities available in the processed food products sector.

Orkla Brand International Chief executive, Paul Jordahl, said the company is currently looking for takeover investments in India that are strategically fit in expanding its presence in the robust economy to enable it meet the demands of modern consumers seeking a wide range of branded processed foods. Orkla first ventured into India in 2007 with a US$80 million, about Rs 364 crore, investment takeover of MTR Foods, a Bangalore based company, from the Maiya family.

Accordingly, the 350 year old Nordic company estimated at worth US$9 billion plans to go national in India over the next two to three years. Further more, Jordahl said the company’s venture into India is for the long term and other than funding MTR for its national presence, Orkla will leverage the MTR brand to expand its product portfolio to enable it offer a wide range of processed foods.

The company’s brands work on the basis of a multi-local model in which responsibility for value building in the core business resides at the local level with each individual unit. Currently, the company has four synergetic units namely Orkla Foods Nordic, Orkla Brands Nordic, Orkla Brands International and lastly, Orkla Foods Ingredients.

Its subsidiary is currently undertaking an analysis of the Indian food processing industry for a range of products that meet the preferences of diverse consumer needs and the varying tastes of the new generations.

There is great potential for processed food brands across India, particularly in the cities, characteristic of a high demand for ready and processed foods for up-market consumers and the growing middle class that have no time to prepare meals, said Jordahl.

Orkla ordered a study of Indian consumers’ traditional and changing food habits, lifestyle and cuisine preferences to enable it cater for these needs. Jordahl noted that the Indian economy was slowly regaining and disposable incomes are subsequently rising, as such, Orkla would seek to mimic the success it has had in other countries where multi-billion dollar processed food brands thrive by providing a wide range of products, from breakfast to supper, he said.

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