Illinois, US-based World Kitchen, owner of premium kitchenware and cutlery brands like Corelle, Corningware and Pyrex, has forayed into India’s kitchen storage space. It has launched a set of products for the Indian kitchen under its brand Snapware, which is known for its airtight, space-saving boxes, containers, canisters, jars, bottles, so on, made of plastic or glass in ergonomic designs and eye-pleasing colours and shapes.
Joseph T Mallof, president and CEO, shares with Nupur Anand the company’s plans and the growth opportunity he sees in the kitchen storage segment in India
The kitchen storage segment in India is still very fragmented. How do you see the industry shaping up?
The industry is at a very nascent stage and therefore the market prospects are huge. The market in India is largely dominated by local plastic players. To give you an idea, the storage market in India is pegged at only $620 million. Out of which the food storage market is just 58% which is $360 million (Rs 1,925 crore). Considering that the market is not very big, we see huge growth opportunity.
How different is the market in India?
If you look at the industry globally, the scenario is completely different. It is dominated mainly by branded players. Storage market in India is where it was several years ago in other countries. The kind of products sold outside is also different. In other countries, the demand is more for big containers where as in India, the focus is more on small, compact storage boxes.
Here, the branded players have been able to capture only 30% of the total market. And there are only two branded players in India at the moment. So we think that there is definitely place for a third brand that is ready to offer innovative organisation storage for Indian homes. Snapware is a product that World Kitchen has in its portfolio globally. And it has done very well in different markets. We expect the same response in India.
You are going to face competition both from established branded players and the local ones. How do you plan to tackle that?
Our product offering caters to demand in the premium segment. So that in itself cuts competition from the local players. Our product can be used in microwaves, there are no health hazards, it is easy to store and clean. And we believe that the product quality will help us in carving out a niche in the specialised storage market. And in the branded segment, there are just two players at the moment. The focus is more on building and expanding the market. And given the fact that branded players have already started educating the Indian consumer, we believe that their presence will just help us in expanding the reach.
Indian consumers are price-conscious, so will that be a challenge?
Our products are more longer-lasting than the cheaper variants. So, at the point of purchase, it may pinch you. But the fact that we score on the quality front will push consumers to pay a little extra. So we expect consumers to make this value-conscious decision. Moreover, increase in disposable incomes and demand for aesthetic products will also fuel demand for branded products in the storage space.
What are the marketing plans for the product?
We are launching just before the festive season kicks in. So we will try and make our products more visible during the Diwali and gifting season. We will be present in both big store retail format and the local departmental store, making sure that accessibility is not a problem. We will also be present in stores via our partner TTK Prestige, that makes and markets kitchen appliances. We are also present in the e-commerce space in the US and other countries and at a later stage we may look at exploring the option in India too.
Would you import your products into India?
The products under Snapware are at the moment being exported from other countries in Asia and the US. If the market evolves in line with expectations then we will be willing to explore local production opportunity.