We Have Set-up a World Class State-of-Art Refinery, Using Best of Global Technology

Mr. P Chandrashekhar Reddy, Vice President Sales & Marketing at Gemini Edibles & Fats has an exposure of over 25 years in various edible oil organisations. In this interview Mr. Reddy shares his direct insights as well as apprehensions on how to promote a launch and understand the business dynamics . His focus and aggressive brand building approach has created a robust network; his strategy has succeeded in positioning Sunflower oil as a No.1 Brand.

1. What are the different kinds of oil variety you produce? 

Freedom Healthy Cooking Oils is our flagship brand, widely recognized for the refined sunflower oil. We have added variants like physically refined Rice bran oil, Groundnut oil, Mustard Oil & Gingelly oil to offer the customers an option for the specific requirements.

We have First Klass brand for Palmolein Oil. We also have a range for Value added fats with the brands B.Rite, Magik and Fabula for bakery fats. Apart from this we also do bulk trading of edible oils.

2. How is your product healthier as compared to your competitors in the food industry?

India has a diverse culture when it comes to food. Different types of oils are used for cooking across India. Consistency in quality, safety and hygiene are critically differentiated, for any brand in the era of COVID-19. We have also set up a world class state-of-art refinery, using best of global technology at Kakinada. The entire refining process and packaging is automated and requires minimal human intervention.

Being in the industry for over 2 decades and as a part of Sinarmas group, we have an excellent global network for sourcing the best quality of raw material for processing.

Our portfolio of Freedom Healthy cooking oils has rice bran oil, which is known for its high levels of bio-active phytochemicals, such as oryzanol, tocopherols and sterols. Freedom physically refined rice bran oil is extracted using a novel physical refining process. The process helps retain more than 80% of these micro-nutrients like 10000+ ppm of oryzanol per 100mg in the end product. Therefore, it has the right quantity of oryzanol to help the customers eat healthy and live healthy. We also have sunflower oil, which is fortified with Vitamin A, D & E, Groundnut oil, Mustard Oil with a balanced profile for health.

3. People are increasingly shifting from oil-based food to oil-free food. How can you convince them to eat oil-based healthy food?

Consumers are growing health conscious and concerned about the health impact from all the ingredients that are used for cooking.  The global trend of ‘Fat is Good’ in appropriate small quantities is being recognized. Fats, are just as essential for our well-being like proteins, starch and minerals. Edible oil forms an essential part of the food being cooked and is required for the body. To stay healthy a small quantity of fat in the diet is essential, however excess consumption is not good.

‘Freedom’ has always focused on bringing the customers edible oils which are healthy, and tasty food using less oil. It is non-sticky, non-greasy, with a balanced HDL/LDL profile making it healthy for the heart. The oil helps you cook more in less oil and the same has been communicated in our messaging over a period of time.

Likewise, Freedom Rice Bran Oil has 10,000 ppm of Oryzanol, highest in any brand of RBO and the same has been the focus of our communication. For mustard oil and groundnut oil we have our focus on the taste and health, due to the niche usage of these oils.

To deliver the message, we use a mix of mediums. We have communicated the health benefits and advice on the consumption of oils through a series of articles featuring nutritionists, chef’s etc. through platforms like TV advertisements & programs, news articles, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube posts. We have also associated with running and sporting events like Freedom Hyderabad 10K Run, Freedom Ride, HYSEA Sports tournament to re-enforce the association with health.

4. Your brand uses Palm oil. Palm oil is said to have a bad reputation because it is high in saturated fats. What can you say about it?

Palmolein is the largest selling fat in the world. Unfortunately, a perception is created that it is bad for health. Probably the lower selling price could be the reason for the notion. Palm olein has helps increase shelf life and enhance taste. However, whether it is in India or around the world Palm is mostly consumed in Industries and HoReCa segment. We have palm oil by the brand name ‘First Klass’ mainly for this segment.

All edible oils under the flagship brand ‘Freedom’ like Sunflower, Rice Bran, Mustard and Groundnut Oil are having a favorable health profile and preferred for “@ Home” consumption.

5. What measures does your brand follow for optimum hygiene protection while packaging the products, especially in this pandemic situation?

Safety and Hygiene of Freedom Healthy Cooking Oils has been the focus for our brand since its launch. We follow a very stringent hygiene and quality control mechanism at Freedom. Each batch of oil undergoes 24 specified tests and 100 periodic tests to ensure the quality. As we navigate this new normal, organizations are forced to evaluate their business processes and adopt new technologies for production, packing, distribution, monitoring, and control. We have recently set up a new fully automated plant at Kakinada which does require minimalistic manpower, right from sourcing oils for refining, monitored refining, packing for dispatch.

This lockdown has witnessed the emergence of the requirement for less contact manufacturing and distribution processes. Even, the bottles are manufactured in-house for packaging, whereas labour is only required during the shipping of products. This has helped us during the COVID-19 lockdown. Even the internal sales and billing monitoring system is completely automated. The automation helps us keep ourselves updated about the stock movement across different categories of retailers and on the efforts of the sales force.

6. What is the vision for your brand?

‘Freedom’ is a value for money brand offering genuine, pure, best quality of food products. We are currently in states of AP, Telangana, Orissa, Karnataka and as we go along, we would like to make in-roads in the neighboring states. As of now, we want to focus on edible oils with the brand – ‘Freedom’.

7. How does your brand contribute to the sustainable environment as a pioneer in the food industry?

‘Freedom’ is extremely concerned about the environment and the communities where we operate. Our newly commissioned plant @ Kakinada is a zero-discharge facility with multiple interventions to protect the environment. We have invested heavily in technology & infrastructure to ensure that our manufacturing plant has zero liquid effluent discharge, unlike most of the other industry operators.

We ensure adequate green belt patches within the premises and enough measures are taken to maintain a clean environment around the plant.

8. Would you like to debunk a few oil processing myths that relate to the health issues to the consumers & the food industry?

It is important for all the consumers to understand the various aspects of products, safety and edible oils – myths & facts. All the consumers should know the different aspects about edible oils comprising of its importance in diet, to selection of oils, the safety of refined oils and the logic of importing oils and it’s pricing. Cooking/Edible oils are important for the maintenance of good health. These are energy-rich components in our daily food and provide about 9 kcals/g whereas carbohydrates and proteins provide only 4 kcal per gram.

FSSAI has recognized several oils for cooking purpose and some of the most common cooking oils being consumed are as follows: Coconut oil, Cottonseed oil, Groundnut oil, Linseed/flaxseed oil, mustard oil, Rapeseed or mustard oil – low erucic acid, Olive oil, Palmolein, Palmsteain, Palm kernel oil, Rice bran oil, Safflower seed oil, Til Oil (Gingelly or sesame oil), Soybean oil, Maize (corn) oil, Sunflower seed oil and High Oleic Sunflower seed oil. Majority of these oils require refining. We use only standard and approved ingredients for refining as recommended by FSSAI, ensuring the safety and well-being of the consumers.

9. Brands can now effectively communicate with customers through B2C communication methods. How do you find this to be rewarding for your brand?

Being a vibrant player in the segment, Freedom pioneered the adoption of Social Media Marketing, Influencer Marketing & Digital Advertising as a new medium to reach out and engage with the target audience. Digital marketing is essential to reach out and engage with the audience today, as India is rapidly adopting mobiles and using it increasingly to stay connected. We are spending with specially conjured creative content majorly on Google Apps, YouTube, Face book, Instagram & other platforms as well. This year we have also started with the OTT (Over the Top) Platforms like Zee5 & Hotstar.

Freedom has been communicating to its customers through the different platforms with the different narratives over the last many years by segregating the customers through their Lifestyle needs, culture and on the interpretation of Freedom to Choose