Milind Pingle, Allana: Adapt to uncertainty and ambiguity
The FMCG sector witnessed significant growth in 2021 despite the second wave of COVID-19 disrupting operations to some extent in the first quarter of FY22. We have seen consumers becoming increasingly health conscious which has made it imperative to work on product compositions with natural and eco-friendly ingredients. Health awareness, focus on immunity and sustainability were the major trends witnessed. The resultant consumer behaviour also influenced a boost to digitization and innovation in home delivery.
At Allana Consumer Products, brands like London Dairy premium ice creams and Pristine range of Bakery Ingredients were able to outgrow competition despite the year being turbulent. We have been able to keep the business going uninterruptedly in Oils & Fats amidst pandemic induced disruptions and volatility in commodity prices.
The organisation put people first and their safety was of paramount importance. While doing so, the organisation continued to stay resilient and ensured uninterrupted operations.
At Allana Consumer Products, we are high on quality, consumer centricity and customer service and innovation. We continually strived to deliver the best of the offerings in 2021.
The sudden, first lockdown taught us resilience and the need to prepare ourselves with contingency plans. When the second wave struck, Allana Consumer Products was responsive to the consumer needs and with an agile Supply Chain, we managed to service the consumer demand well with essential products like Sunny & Priya Edible Oils.
Consumers widening their culinary expertise resulted in a significant growth for Allegro Olive Oil. London Dairy continued to be most preferred brand in premium ice creams as consumers continued their spree to indulge in impulse consumption. We accomplished commissioning of our new Oil Tank Terminal at JNPT, venturing into the Rice Bran category with brand Priya and launch of Flavoured glazes under Pristine Decors & Fillings range. We introduced smaller sized smart packs for our bakery ingredients to cater to the home bakers.
There was added focus in E-Commerce and we continued to scale up in 2021.
The year saw us introducing Beyond Meat, the famous plant-based meat brand of USA, in the Indian market.
Looking Forward :
The last couple of years have taught businesses to adapt to uncertainty and ambiguity. The experience has increased our resolve to succeed despite challenging scenarios by staying nimble footed, determined, and responding to the environment with elan and positivity. 2022 will be a new milestone.
At Allana Consumer Products, we will continuously innovate and introduce varied offerings in the B2C space as well as create value for our B2B customers. We are preparing ourselves to cater to a wide range of customers with a focus on quality, superior customer service and sustainability. On cards is an omnichannel approach to cater to consumers through multiple touchpoints.
We are looking to the future with optimism and are confident that the FMCG industry will continue its growth trajectory well into 2022.
Priorities, going ahead :
It is a consumer-first approach. We are focussed on changing consumer usage and attitudes. We have learnt that to flourish, we will have to accelerate innovation across the value chain in this new normal.
Consumers are also becoming digitally savvy; and as marketeers, we must become digitally-first in our approach. There is a greater adoption of the E-Commerce channel. The shift has inspired us to build a robust E-Commerce capability.
We are investing in customer relationships, more so in our B2B business. We are sworn to Quality always and high standards of customer service.
Sustainability is another area that merits our attention. In today’s era, consumers are willing to pay premiums to brands that are taking care of the environment and climate, possess clean labels and have clearly articulated sustainable policies.
Finally, people matter. Allana Consumer Products lays great emphasis on people and their well-being. We believe people are our greatest assets. We are investing in Learning & Development, upskilling and on retaining and growing our people.
Advice for young professionals :
Events of the last two years reflect that life is uncertain and will throw multiple challenges. Please don’t give up. Be positive, patient, resolute and solution driven. Tough times don’t last, tough people do!
Learnings and realizations across 2021 :
We look at our consumer business as an ‘everyday business’ and that makes us more agile in either being a front runner or in responding to competition in a nimble manner. Our success in 2021 was because of our response to real-time events.
As leaders, we must be more open, transparent, empathetic and stay connected with our people and customers.
Also, just like a few months in the first wave, the nature of second wave also forced us to work remotely and for a lot of functions, we realised that work is about ‘action’ and not about ‘location’.
Given the rapidly changing consumer trends, consumer-centricity becomes more important. Tying that belief in goal setting at the leadership level became important so that employees get the bigger picture towards delighting consumers.