Interview With Vivek Mani, CEO of Heritage Novandie Foods

Vishal SS (cbedit@imaws.org)


In India, Heritage is the traditional big brand and organization with almost three decades old and pretty strong in South India. “The primary revenues come from daily products like milk, curd, etc. We had been wanting to get into the value-added segment although they have their own brand-filled products as well. We were looking for a premium partnership with Novandie, which is also a five decades-old company. They don’t have a direct presence in India however they expanded in Africa. said Mr. Vivek Mani, CEO of Heritage Novandie Foods Private Limited.

“It was good coming together of two companies which come with a lot of legacies. The objective was very clear in the differentiation of what each partner will bring. Heritage was supposed to bring and stick to the understanding of the Indian market, logistics support, and partnerships in India. Novandie brings about their technical expertise especially with fruits, fermented milk products”, he added. “Heritage Novandie Foods stands in a unique space. Although it was established in 1992, by nature it’s a start-up from day one. Everyone wanted to enter the value-added daily products, primarily because from the business point of view, this is where the margins are. Most importantly this is where the customer loyalty, brand loyalty, and the brand engagements are higher”, said Vivek Mani.

Many established products are value-added but in some cases, these value-added contributions are very small. That’s the area where heritage plays a vital role with a very clear focus on particular product categories that bring customer excitement, innovation’s where the adoptions are very high. Price-wise also heritage fits into a unique side, people are now trying out western products which are not that expensive.

“The entire factory was built when the country was in COVID-19 national lockdown. We had seen the impact on all parts of the business. When we were scaling up for the launch, that’s where the nation-wise lockdown happened. The biggest challenge was, a fresh product like food needs to start with so many samples and customer interaction, heritage was not to grasp that area because of the pandemic situation. We worked very closely with the team, customers, and partners to overcome that challenge. We were available on multi-channels from day one which helped us to handle the situation better. COVID-19 second wave impacted the sales and distribution of Heritage Novandie foods.”, Said Vivek Mani further adding “By the time of the second wave of COVID-19, we were able to pick up the scale and margin. But our expansion plans had to stop or rather slow it down. We had to go through some surveys with the outlets which led to the back seat for the expansion of heritage to other cities. This has influenced us how fast we should expand the brand”.

The brand needed to put up something new in the market in which we were working on product development, that’s how we thought of giving drinkable yogurt. This is a set yogurt, which means you will not see anything liquid if you pick the cup. You have to shake the cup till you hear the curd break or pop. That’s when you know that the soft curd has broken into a liquid that could be drunk when you open the lid to drink this product. This product makes it on the go. said, Mr. Vivek Mani

Expansion Plans
“The brand is having plans of adding more flavors as we are ready with more exotic Indian flavors. Another main expansion on products is getting plain yogurt into markets as there the application of yogurt is wider. We are planning to give more products which have a higher shelf life with no preservatives. This will be useful for Hotels, caters where they can stock our products and use it for a longer period of time”., he added.

As of now, we are not much on mass media. But the brand looked at moments or situations which created happiness which is like moment marketing and tie up e-commerce in social media like in the case of EURO cup, whenever France played we used to put up offers on products in our E-commerce channel.

Heritage Novandie Foods have taken the help of technology which will be soon seen in the market, through the packaging consumers can connect to the market. It will help them in a fun way, in a gamification way, in their spaces, and get connected to the brand. This strategy has been adopted in India as Heritage Novandie Foods is very much excited about this adaptation.
“For partnerships to do well, we started to play with each other’s strengths. Heritage Novandie Foods has a good story and a great legacy. We need a platform for taking this to the next level. For campaigns and marketing, we use the platforms that have more space for visual information and visual representation. “, he concluded.

The brand got to know about its omnipresent consumers. “So we liked to show us available everywhere. We knew that there would be an update or change in modern trade outlets, although it continues to be the biggest contributor. However, E-commerce is helping us to reach those who are not stepping out. Currently, e-commerce would be of 10% overall sales while the traditional retail, modern trade, and the general trade format come to the remaining 90% sales”., said Vivek Mani

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