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New Delhi: Marico Ltd., on Thursday announced its entry into the instant noodles market, a category dominated by larger packaged consumer goods companies such as Nestle and ITC Ltd.

The move is line with Marico’s plans to generate more revenues from its packaged foods business that comprises Saffola oats, honey, and soya chunks.

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The launch of instant noodles under the Saffola Oodles brand is in line with the company’s focus on strengthening its foothold in the healthy, ready-to-cook snacking category and widening its demographic relevance, according to a company.

In a year of the pandemic, prolonged time spent indoors has given rise to at-home cooking and prompted consumers to seek varied snacking options. Food companies have expanded their portfolio as a result.

“Since the launch of Saffola Masala Oats, Saffola has become a mainstay in the ready-to-eat snacking market in India," said Koshy George, chief marketing officer, Marico. Through the new launch Marico is catering to the “healthy indulgence" narrative, he said.

The brand will be retailed on the company’s own direct-to-consumer platform Saffola stores, apart from e-grocery stores Amazon, BigBasket, Grofers, and Flipkart. The product is available in two stock keeping units.

The company is getting aggressive about its food portfolio, Saugata Gupta, managing director and chief executive officer, Marico Limited, said in an earlier interview with Mint.

“Food is a far more aggressive strategy to grow. Last year we did something slightly below Rs200 crore (in foods). We are extremely confident of getting to Rs300 crore plus this year and then getting to Rs450 crore and to a Rs500 crore number in the following years so that becomes a critical mass. We believe food is something that has significant tailwinds," he said.

The company’s foods portfolio has benefited in a year struck by the pandemic. In the third quarter benefiting from in-home consumption Marico's foods portfolio, comprising honey and oats, reported a value growth of 74% year-on-year (y-o-y).

Meanwhile, Saffola edible oils, posted 17% y-o-y) volume growth, slightly lower than what it reported in the second quarter of the current financial year.

Nestle with its Maggi noodles brand is the largest player in the instant noodles segment. ITC too competes in the market with its Yippee! branded instant noodles.

Marico has also ramped up launches in the heathy foods and immunity category over the last one year. This includes Saffola honey, Saffola Immuniveda range of kadha mix, and Golden Turmeric Milk Mix, as well as Saffola Arogyam Chyawan Amrut Awaleha. Marico also forayed into the plant-based protein segment with the recent launch of Saffola MealMaker Soya Chunks.

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