Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kraft-Cadbury deal: What it means for India?

One of the world's largest food companies, Kraft Foods, has finally bitten into sweet chocolate with its bid for Cadbury. But in the Indian market, where Cadbury is synonymous with chocolate, it’s time now to see both Toblerone and Dairy Milk on the same rack.

Kraft has finally managed to take a bite of Cadbury through its $19.6 billion bid and emerge as the No 1 foodmaker. Once the deal goes through, Kraft, known for its brands like Oreo and Tang, will get into the Indian market, Kraft has been eyeing since a very long time now.

CY Pal, non-executive chairman of Cadbury, said, “Kraft has very little presence in India at the moment, while Cadbury has an extremely strong presence in India. We are the market leaders in India and therefore it would benefit Kraft immensely in terms of broadening the base of the business in India.”

Kraft will get access not only to Cadbury's five manufacturing units here, but also over 1.2 million retail outlets spread across the country. In addition Kraft is also likely to set up their own manufacturing units to make milk products and biscuits.

But even for Cadbury, which has over 72 per cent share in the Rs 2000 crore chocolate market, it's sweet deal, say experts. Cadbury can now enter newer and high margins segments, courtesy Kraft's portfolio of over 40 super brands, many of them in the premium segment.

Ashish Nanda, partner of retail and consumer products at Ernst & Young, said, “Kraft is not new in the country, especially in urban markets where it is well known. So, the moment the portfolio is expanded, the entire relevance to the trade channel increases channel partner and economic viability improves.”

But apart from multinationals Nestle, homegrown company Britannia, which has made fortunes selling biscuits and dairy products, will also have to fight world's largest biscuit brand Oreo and Kraft Cheese. Well, in this competition, Indian consumers will now surely have much more in the plate than they can actually gulp.

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