Future Group and Dole Packaged Foods Worldwide – a leading global player in fresh and packaged fruits, vegetables and fruit-based products – on Wednesday announced an exclusive distribution partnership to expand Dole brand’s presence in India. This marks Dole’s entry into India as a packaged business.
“We do believe that globally speaking, we can double the size of our business in the next five years and that cannot happen without us playing a big role in India as well. India for us remains a very strategic market,” said Pier-Luigi Sigismondi, the global President for Dole Packaged Foods, while talking to reporters about the distribution partnership.
Dole Packaged Foods Worldwide is a division of Dole International Holdings, which is one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of high-quality packaged and fresh fruit and fruit-based products, with operations in more than 70 countries.
With Dole, Future Group will work hand-in-hand to provide Indian shoppers with a much more diverse range of more nutritive packaged fruit and fruit-based products, said Kishore Biyani, Group CEO, Future Group.
Products to be available in over 750 Future Group stores
Dole’s products will soon be available in more than 750 Future Group stores in over 30 cities, which include major metros as well as towns.
It is planning to launch new products in the country by the end of December or January. The products, which will be 100 per cent natural, with no added sugar and artificial flavours, will be available at an average price point of Rs 35-40, said Sigismondi. Dole is looking at launching a host of offerings from its global snacking and beverage portfolio, which will include dried fruits, fruit and nuts, fruit jellies, and juices and healthy beverages. It is also building a range of localised offering keeping in mind the tastes and flavour expectations of Indian consumers.
“It is our priority at Dole Packaged Foods, to reduce the distance between people and good nutrition. We now bring this mission to India with nutritious products that fit with the Indian consumers lifestyles and culinary choices. We could not have asked for a better partner than Future Group on this journey,” said Sigismondi.
At present, the tropical fruits for the products will be imported from Southeast Asia. In about a year’s time, Dole is eyeing the starting of plants in India, for which it is looking out for partners and is in the middle of strategic discussions with industrial companies here, said Sigismondi.
Currently, Dole has packaging plants in Thailand, Philippines and a couple of plants in the USA.
Sigismondi also said that the numbers that the company has shown that in India, more than two-thirds of the growth that is happening in the food segment accrues out of the healthy segment, leading Dole to believe that it’s the best time to invest in this segment in the country.
The Indian market
Dole chose to enter the Indian market keeping in mind the base of 90 million health conscious individuals in the country, which is expected to increase to 130 million people by 2022. “As more citizens become conscious of their health and well-being, and internalise the need to build healthy nutrition into their diet, this presents an opportunity to make our healthy range of products accessible to a wider audience, and accelerate our growth in the country. We believe we can play a small part in helping India be more healthy and get better access to good nutrition,” the company said.
Dole also said it has “has huge expansion plans” both within Asia as well as Europe, Middle East and Africa. Dole is eyeing new expansions across the Middle East, North Africa and Mexico this month. It also plans to follow this with other markets in South East Asia and increase its present offerings in China and Japan.