KRBL, whose India Gate Basmati rice brand is almost a household name across the GCC market, is gearing up to launch a series of age-old, indigenous non-Basmati rice varieties from some of the select regions of India in the UAE market, in a strategic move to woo ethnic Indian communities in the region.
The farm-to-fork rice major is also finalising a new marketing strategy to reach out to the mass market in the Middle East through using a combination of traditional retail outlets and community channels, such as canteens, marriage halls, as well as restaurants.
Currently, KRBL products are mainly marketed through modern trade formats such as hyperstores and supermarkets at various commercial malls and stand alone supermarkets in 1 kg and 5 kg packs.
The proposed regional non-Basmati rice offerings, which will be sub-branded to reflect its region-specific popularity, are to be launched under the company’s umbrella brand India Gate, Priyanka Mittal, director of KRBL, told Arabian Business in an interview.
KRBL is set to unveil two of the new product offerings in the UAE market soon. Priyanka, however, did not disclose the specific details of the regional rice varieties which are to be launched or the launch time line because of commercial reasons.
“The move to launch a series of popular regional Indian non-Basmati rice brands is part of our new strategy to make ‘star brands’ out of these age-old, highly popular indigenous rice varieties,” Priyanka said.
Significantly, the new strategy follows the huge success of KRBL’s India Gate Sona Masoori brand of non-Basmati rice, which is highly popular in southern part of India, among the sizeable south Indian population settled in the Middle East.
“Sona Masoori has been a big hit with the south Indian dispora settled in the Middle East. We want to now offer similar popular rice varieties from India to other ethnic Indian communities in the Middle East region,” Priyanka said.
The GCC market accounts for about 75 per cent of KRBL’s rice exports, with its flagship India Gate brand occupying the top slot in market share and brand recall among rice brands in the Gulf region.
The company’s Basmati rice is highly popular among all nationalities living in the Middle East, as well as among the local population in India for years, according to several market surveys.
So far KRBL’s focus was on the long, aromated Basmati rice, which is grown in certain specific regions of India. Besides, its flagship India Gate brand and its several of its brand extensions, the company also has brands such as Doon, Nur Jahan, Bemisal, Indian Farm, Unity and Taj Mahal.
Priyanka said in order to cater to the rising trend of ‘healthy living’ among consumers, KRBL has been working in its R&D to come up with rice products with highly nutritious contents.
This has resulted in the company launching a series of ‘healthy’ products such as India Gate Quinoa, India Gate Basmati Brown Rice and India Gate Brown Rice – weight watchers special, in the UAE market.
“The company now wants to focus on natural rice varieties as they have been proved to contain several natural ingredients which can fight lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer. Many of the age-old regional rice varieties are proved to have tremendous medicinal value, besides, of course, their distinct flavor and taste and we will try to regain their lost glory by promoting these natural rice products in a big way, going forward,” Priyanka said.
As for the new initiatives for further market penetration, Priyanka said the company will launch a new marketing strategy to reach out to the vast number of traditional retail outlets, independent and chain restaurants, canteens and various community events.
“Currently, our products are available at all price points. We now want to make it available to all customer groups across the GCC region,” she said.For all the latest retail news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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