From cigarettes to fruits! ITC to enter premium fruit and vegetable market

ITC, the Indian conglomerateheadquartered in Kolkata has decided to venture into premium fruits and vegetables and pricey processed foods market, which would put it in direct competition with existing retailers and new-age grocers like Amazon Fresh.

This decision has also transformed ITC, which started off as Indian Tobacco Company, into one of India's most diversified consumer companies.

ITC's desire to expand beyond snack foods is backed by an elaborate distribution network and a wider product portfolio in order to build a retailing presence rivalling that of Mother Dairy.

ITC group head (Agri & IT business) S Sivakumar told ET that they were looking forward to building ITC’s Master Chef franchisee with processed, frozen foods, and come up with a separate brand name for fresh products like fruits and vegetables.

"By the next quarter, we plan to do fruits and vegetables. Each quarter, we will probably have a rollout, either processed, frozen or dehydrated. The idea is to have a series of products which can be laid on top of existing channels, in the cold chain, in stores, once the capacity is created," Sivakumar said.


ITC's consumer business presently consists of packaged food, personal care and educational stationery products, and is worth more than Rs 10,000 crore in revenues, having crossed the golden milestone in 2016-17.

As per an official statement, ITC is now among the fastest-growing branded packaged foods businesses in India.

The fruits and vegetable under the new brand will also be sold online, first via sellers like BigBasket and later expanding to other platforms.