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Innovation key pillar of growth for Nestle India

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Packaged foods major Nestle India has said that it is investing in innovation as an engine for growth in the country since India is the fastest-growing market for it globally.
“Our total sales witnessed a double-digit growth as we navigated a dynamic market landscape,” said Suresh Narayanan, chairman and managing director (CMD), Nestle India, in the company’s annual report for FY24, spanning 15 months.
Penetration, premiumisation and innovation combined with disciplined resource allocation were the key growth drivers for the business, the report stated.
“A significant portion of sales in 2023 was attributed to innovative products. This includes science-led nutrition solutions, millet-based products and plant-based protein options that cater to diverse dietary needs,” it said.
“Innovation is a core strength of the company. Over the past eight years, we have recalibrated, redirected and rejuvenated our portfolio, by launching over 140 new products,” it added.
The proportion of sales of innovation products has been more than 6 per cent in 2023, up from 3 per cent in 2018, on the back of products like Lactogrow, Nescafe black roast, biryani mixes and Munch cereal.
Nestle India saw its out-of-home business accelerate rapidly and become one of the fastest-growing businesses in FY24.
Under the segment, the company collaborated with QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) chains like McDonald’s India (West and South) and Krispy Kreme, and cinema operator PVR-INOX, to co-create a menu using two of its flagship brands Kitkat and Nescafe.
The packaged foods major also partnered with restaurant chains Social and Boss Burger to test-launch its plant-based range.
While the company witnessed robust growth across all categories, India became the largest Nestlé market globally for Maggi and the second-largest market for Kitkat in FY24.
The growth in Maggi was aided by a balance of product mix, pricing and volume growth in Maggi noodles and Maggi Masala-ae-Magic. The company also worked on renewing the recipe for Maggi tomato ketchup with 22 per cent less sugar. Riding the Hallyu wave, the company also launched Korean-flavoured Maggi noodles in FY24.

“Our consistent efforts to strengthen brand trust and accelerate the pace of innovation has garnered immense consumer love and made India the largest Nestlé market worldwide for Maggi,” said Rajat Jain, Head of Foods at the company.

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Opportunities for Nestle
Demographically driven demand
Innovation key to cater to India’s largest Gen Z population known for their digital fluency and brand awareness.
Rising rural demand
With advancements in infrastructure, improving access and growing purchasing power, rural population presents a vast consumer base
Premiumisation driving growth
This trend is notably more pronounced in the top 100 cities, driven by increased disposable income.
Human-AI collaboration
AI being used in customer engagement, product development, pricing and distribution and personalised shopping experience
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