Mumbai: India’s largest consumer staples company Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL) is set to launch Skippy brand peanut butter, part of a renewed effort to bring brands from its parent’s global portfolio to grow the firm’s food business in India.
“Skippy butter is available in the grey market in India. We plan to launch it soon,” says a senior company official who did not want to be named. Unilever claims Skippy is the world’s largest selling peanut butter brand.
HLL, which owns brands such as Close Up toothpaste and Taj Mahal tea, has identified food as a major growth driver for the company. The firm’s processed food business grew at 48.6% during the January-March quarter, ahead of other categories on a percentage growth basis.
“We are looking to launch food products from Unilever’s portfolio and are evaluating various options,” Douglas Baillie, CEO of HLL, told Mint during its annual general meeting last week.
While the Indian butter market is estimated to be around Rs700-800 crore, growing at 5% per annum, peanut butter as a ready-to-eat food is likely to have an acquired taste.
“HLL would have to create awareness in the market since Indian butter market is dominated by milk-based butter,” says R.S. Sodhi, chief general manager, Amul, which is the market leader with over 90% market share. Analysts note the growth of modern retail in India could help in marketing such products in urban India.