VKL Seasonings is focused on studying the evolving trends in the market and get a deeper understanding of the traditional tastes that are based on consumer preferences
VKL Seasonings is the flagship company of Kanji Morarji Group in Mumbai. It was started in 1935 at Kerala, the spice capital of the world and has grown to be a USD 250 million entity. By evolving the spice trade at each step, the brand now serves as the largest seasoning and flavour seller.
Speaking to Food & Hospitality World, Narayanan, president, VKL Seasonings, explains, “Consumers today have a more evolved palate since they are well travelled and are open to experience various international and local cuisines. In order to address the demands of the consumers, the brands ensure that they offer distinctive taste proposition in various categories to their target consumers so that they stand out from their competitors. The industry is thus driven by the evolving and changing consumer needs. Brands constantly innovate to address such evolving consumer needs and root their seasonings and flavours in local taste to have a better appeal. Being a challenging field, companies and brands need to be well aware of the trends in the seasoning and flavour industry and need to be at the forefront of innovation.”
He adds that young consumers are more open to accept varied food choices and are eager to explore lesser-known cuisines with unique flavor combinations. To address such consumer needs, brands are constantly innovating, creating and delivering as per their identity in the market place.
“We at VKL keep studying the various trends evolving in the market place and at the same time have a deeper understanding of the traditional tastes that are based on consumer preferences. An ethos that underpins VKL is making food an extra-ordinary experience to the brands by ensuring they meet and exceed consumer expectations. One of the major trends we currently see is the use of bold complex flavours, both international and ethnic. To cater to the taste preferences one could look at an option of blending the international PiriPiri flavour with locally acceptable curry leaves and come up with a unique brand new flavour combination,” he mentions.
Talking about the challenges in the India market, he opines, “Currently, the market continues to remain extremely challenging with numerous brands vying for the consumer’s attention. Mastering the flavour trends and how it can be applied across categories is the challenge that brands face. We partner with brands to ensure that we remain at the forefront. The main challenge is to ensure that the quality and taste is consistent, since we deal with agricultural commodities which vary from batch to batch, however VKL ensures that the output remains consistent within a narrow band. Our superior supply chain systems and processes and manufacturing and quality control process thus ensures that we deliver a consistent taste and new experience. Ensuring predictability on a sustained basis is the next big challenge we face.”
When asked about the increased competition in the market, he mentions, “With the increasing level of competition in the market place, we need to ensure that we are always at the cutting edge of technology, constantly evaluating new raw materials and ingredients, upgrading our manufacturing processes and quality systems and at the same time delivering value to our customers. This requires a cross functional team of product development specialists, chefs, manufacturing and quality professionals working together as team to deliver and exceed our customer expectations.”
He adds that being one of the largest players in this industry and by virtue of working with the leading brands across various categories both in India and abroad has enabled the brand to constantly strive for excellence and keep learning and evolving. Currently, VKL Seasonings delivers in over 30 countries which ensure that they constantly meet the regulatory standards in each of the geographies that enable them to be the best in the industry.
“Our R&D, marketing and supply chain teams work very closely with the brand’s/ client’s teams in order to understand their needs. They then work on a concept and offer innovative competitive solutions for the brands to stand out in the marketplace. Our proactive approach towards new concept development underpins our brands to be trendsetters in the market,” he further adds.