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NEW DELHI : Organized players are set to benefit from the government’s move to tax unbranded, pre-packaged food products, such as rice, wheat and flour, as it creates a level playing field in the market, said a top executive at Adani Wilmar Ltd.

“When it comes to food, today the GST (goods and services tax) rule is applicable. We have been looking forward to this for the last five years. Now, our market will open (up). The market of branded staples will open up in a big way. There are a large number of brands operating without GST and selling in small towns, rural markets and even in metros," Angshu Mallick, chief executive, Adani Wilmar, said.

After a two-day meet on 28 and 29 June, the GST Council agreed to bring a large number of food products, such as curd, lassi, paneer, honey, makhana, wheat, rice, butter milk and puffed rice under the tax net. Subsequently, the central overnment notified that starting 18 July, GST will be levied on pre-packaged and labelled (non-registered brand names) goods.

However, late on Sunday, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs clarified that only single packages of food items like cereals, pulses and flour weighing up to 25 kg will be considered ‘pre-packaged and labelled’ products, and will be taxed at 5%.

The imposition of GST on pre-packaged and labelled staples will help the firm penetrate deeper, especially in rural markets, where packaged but non-registered product sales are high, said Mallick.

Adani Wilmar retails packaged flour, besan, suji, pulses, sugar, rice and cooking oil under the Fortune brand.

“Consumers will definitely not mind paying a little extra because the delta has reduced significantly between branded and pre-packaged items. This will be a very big thing for our brands, Fortune and Kohinoor and for other brands," he said.

The company is stepping up efforts to expand in rural areas by increasing its distribution in more towns and villages.

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