Blog: British Baker visits Signature International Foods in Nashik

Multimedia reporter Ashley Williams travels into rural India to visit Signature International Foods’ bakery in Nashik. There he met managing director Yatin Patel and sales and marketing director for the Indian market Shilpa Agarwal.

Signature International Foods, which also operates a bakery in Dunstable in the UK, is one of the first flatbread producers in India to have large-capacity lines. These can produce a range of authentic Indian breads including chapattis, parathas, kulchas and naans, alongside international flatbreads such as tortillas, pizza bases and pittas.

From my tour of the factory, it was clear the staff were passionate and believed in the products the company produces.

Sales and marketing director for the Indian market Shilpa Agarwal explained that the Indian foodservice market is worth £30bn and is estimated to rise to £45bn over the next few years.

She added that India had overtaken the UK as the second-largest market outside the US for pizza chain Domino's. And although Starbucks only opened in India about four years ago, it now has 75-80 outlets throughout the country.

The e-commerce market is currently worth £10bn and is expected to grow to £60bn by 2020, with last year’s demonetisation bringing a surge in growth (see my previous blog). E-wallet is used by consumers to buy premium bread and pastries, which is making transactions quicker and easier.

Foodtech companies are also tipped to be the next big thing in the market.

Following my chat with Agarwal, I met Yatin Patel. He had previously worked at the Signature Flatbreads UK bakery, and moved back to Nashik five-and-a-half years ago.

He explained that the new Fresh 2 Go brand, which is carried in many supermarkets and convenience stores around major Indian cities, the Middle East and south-east Asia, has the potential to come over to the UK and become a success.

Patel feels there are also opportunities here for UK businesses, explaining that as long as they are on-trend and relevant to the Indian market they have the potential for success. But there is a high duty on imports, he warned.

Video interviews from India will be available on the British Baker website from this week, as well as a film examining Indian bakery distribution.

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