From a Punjab kitchen, these sweets, snacks have travelled far

January 28th, 2011 - 2:19 pm ICT by IANS  

By Alkesh Sharma
Chandigarh, Jan 28 (IANS) A business formula that originated three decades ago in the kitchen of a homemaker is creating a buzz in international markets. What is more, it counts chains like McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Barista and Cafe Coffee Day as clients.Brainchild of 62-year-old Rajni Bector, Cremica products started with ice-creams made from a hand churner as a hobby to please friends and local clients, and gradually moved on to other food products. Now it boasts a long list of international clients.

The products of Mrs Bector Cremica, among the first women entrepreneurs of Ludhiana, an industrial hub of Punjab, are not only tickling the taste buds of Indians but are also available in the leading stores in the West.

The venture started in 1978 and the annual sales is expected to touch the Rs.5-billion mark (Rs. 500 crores/$110 mn) this fiscal. The business is growing at nearly 30 percent per annum, company officials said.

Cremica’s ready-to-eat food, sauces and ethnic namkeens are doing brisk business in Britain and Canada. Buoyed by the response thus far, Cremica is now eyeing some other unexplored international markets.

“We are exporting snacks, ethnic namkeens, sauces and biscuits to Canada. Our business operations in Canadia were launched through the largest retail chain in Canada and they are marketed by Bloom,” said Akshay Bector, the founder’s son.

“Our products are available on the shelves of Loblaws. Ethnic namkeens are in vogue and they have seen a whopping response, especially from the Indian community,” Bector, who serves as the company’s managing director, told IANS.

“We see a lot of business potential in this particular segment.”

Bector considered it a big achievement that products manufactured by an Indian company were selected by one of the largest chain stores in Canada. The products include bhujia, moong dal, chatpat nimbu, panchratan and other namkeens.

Cremica last year signed an agreement with a leading retailer in Britain to sell ready-to-eat products to it.

“We have signed a contract with a Britain-based retailer. We are also making ready-to-eat rice, as per UK standards and expectation, which was obviously very difficult to achieve,” said Bector.

According to company officials, the export turnover of the Cremica group is around Rs.850-900 million (Rs.85-90 crores) and they expect it to grow at 25 percent in the coming months.

Taking about Cremica’s future plans to expand its international business, Bector said the focus will be on consolidation. “We are also keeping a tab on our new potential foreign clients and eyeing new unexplored markets.”

Apart from namkeens, Cremica manufactures a wide range of products, including ice-cream, biscuits, breads, sauces, mayonnaise, jam, salad dressing, bread spreads and condiments.

The company also supplies its products to brands like McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Barista and Cafe Coffee Day, Indian Railways, Reliance, Papa John’s, United Nations World Food Programme and Jet Airways.

(Alkesh Sharma can be contacted at alkesh.s@ians.in)

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