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ITC Trichy Factory Update

Image result for itc trichyThe recent food scares and tighter phytosanitary measures imposed by major markets in the European Union, US and Japan have spurred ITC Ltd to use contaminant-free food products as the base for a new line of raw and processed foods and spices dubbed ‘super safe’.

The ‘super safe’ range undergoes as many as 400 tests — in contrast to nine required under Indian law — to make it compliant with the US, EU and Japanese regulatory requirements.

ITC also sees a strong domestic market for ‘super safe’ foods. Its ‘super safe’ frozen shrimp has just been launched in Hyderabad and Delhi. The next initiative will be in foods and vegetables that will happen during this year, ITC CEO and Executive Director Sanjiv Puri said, in an exclusive interaction with journalists and editors of The Hindu Group in Chennai on Thursday.

Health and wellness portfolio
ITC Ltd will shortly add more foods and vegetables to its health and wellness product portfolio. It could be in the form of fresh produce or in forms which can enhance shelf life — dehydrates, frozen or purées.

The processed foods will be under the ITC MasterChef brand while for the fresh vegetables foray, the company is yet to finalise the brand name, Puri revealed.

For its ‘super safe’ spices, the company has entered into a tripartite arrangement with the Andhra Pradesh government and farmers on about 5,000 acres of land in the State,where ITC-developed practices will be implemented to grow contaminant- and pesticide-free spices. The ‘super safe’ range is also being launched in the domestic market as a premium product.

ITC is creating a supply chain infrastructure with 20 food processing parks that are at various stages of development. The first was opened two years ago near Bengaluru, One in West Bengal and two more will be opened in the next few months. In Tamil Nadu, one is being built at Tiruchi at a cost of nearly ₹1,000 crore. “Our intent is to have one more in Tamil Nadu, but that will be in phase-II,” he said.

On its hotel business, Puri said in 1995 the company had 12 properties which has grown to 100 today. ITC is constructing about 10 properties. “We are scaling up very rapidly because we are a much younger company and we need to complete our footprint. With these 10 properties, we will have a reasonably complete footprint,” he said.

“We are committed to India for the long term. There is a cost of gestation and after that period, there will be more opportunity for us. It is not just about being asset light but also an asset right strategy,” he said.

The company will invest nearly ₹25,000 crore to expand both its hotel footprint and food processing parks over a period of 5-7 years, he said.

Tobacco business
On the tobacco business, Puri said the company has been in this business for over 100 years and there was no reason for it to de-risk it in favour of other sectors. “It is a legal industry, and I would like to do that business with responsibility. One enterprise not being in the business will not influence consumption of cigarettes. Somebody else will fill the vacuum. I will do as per the laws. Let experts take a view on what products the society consumes and effect they have,” he said.

Puri said the ban on sale of liquor on highways has affected the company’s hotels, including ITC Grand Chola in Chennai, very badly. The MICE segment is almost wiped out, he said

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