Accepting Frozen Food as go-to option remains a challenge: Lisa Suwal, CEO, Prasuma | The Financial Express

Accepting Frozen Food as go-to option remains a challenge: Lisa Suwal, CEO, Prasuma

‘Another challenge this industry faces is the infrastructure including the temperature controlled cold chain and proper storage.’

Accepting Frozen Food as go-to option remains a challenge: Lisa Suwal, CEO, Prasuma
Due to misconceptions and lack of awareness, people tend to ignore the nutritional and environmental benefits of frozen items.

The frozen food category is at a nascent stage but is growing fast at 20% – 25% year-on-year. In FY2021, the Indian Frozen Food Market was valued at USD 1.1 Billion and it is projected to be at USD 2.6 Billion by FY2025. The growing demand for convenience foods, changing lifestyles, and rising product innovation is driving the demand for frozen food in India. Alongside, rising globalization, digitalization, and travel are fueling consumers’ interest in international cuisine. How is this influence playing a major role in increasing the demand for international food in India? What is the scope of different cuisines in India? FinancialExpress.com got in touch with frozen food brand Prasuma’s CEO Lisa Suwal to know more about the industry trends and challenges. Excerpts:

Please throw light on the current scenario of the frozen food market in India. How do you think different international cuisines are influencing it?

The frozen food category is at a nascent stage but is growing fast at 20% – 25% year-on-year. In FY2021, the Indian Frozen Food Market was valued at USD 1.1 Bn and it is projected to be at USD 2.6 Bn by FY2025. The growing demand for convenience foods, changing lifestyles, and rising product innovation is driving the demand for frozen food in India. Alongside, rising globalisation, digitalisation and travel are fueling consumer’s interest in international cuisine. This influence is definitely playing a major role in increasing the demand for international food in India. With new technologies being researched and incorporated into the food packaging process, it is getting simpler for the industry to produce tasty and healthier options that stay fresh for a long time versus other options that have dominated the snacking category for decades.

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How is Prasuma contributing to the frozen food segment? What are the latest innovations introduced by the brand?

Prasuma, with its industry experience of over 3 decades, has been delighting its patrons with innovations that have never been seen before in India. Launching the Fresh and Chilled Deli Meat segment, Frozen Momos and now Frozen Bao Buns, Prasuma aims to drive home the point clearly that Frozen foods can be delicious, nutritious and are convenient. Innovation drives the consumer to break any stereotypes they have in their head related to frozen foods. Today when we speak to mothers they say “I trust your Momos for my child.” That’s a change in consumer behaviour at its very core and a win for the frozen food segment.

More recently this year, Prasuma stepped into the cloud kitchen space to mark their presence in offline business. With this, Prasuma is building your neighbourhood Momo kitchen, they have great expectations from this new venture.

Second, Prasuma aims to deliver an unparalleled quality of safe yet premium flavourful products to every corner of the country. From the procurement of fresh raw ingredients directly from farms locally and around the world to owning the entire production capability as well as packaging innovations like ZipLoc packs to 100% temperature-controlled distribution, the brand’s focus continues to be on uncompromised quality. It reflects in the final products as well as the level of trust and loyalty of consumers.

What are the challenges frozen food brands are facing in India? How does experimenting with food help players in the industry?

Amid the rising popularity of Frozen Food, accepting it as a go-to option remains a challenge. Due to misconceptions and lack of awareness, people tend to ignore the nutritional and environmental benefits of frozen items.

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People think that frozen foods are not as fresh as fresh food, but think about it this way. Those Frozen Peas that you bought were harvested naturally, not before time or with artificial ripening, they were frozen using the latest technology as soon as they were harvested. They travelled from a far-away farm from a region where they grow naturally versus growing them outside of their natural habitat and have been delivered to you, to store safely in your freezer to consume at your own convenience. These are better than the “fresh” peas available 365 days in your local market that may be artificially ripened, taken off the vine well before time for it to be able to make that journey to you from a land which it is not native to hence it has been sprayed with insecticides and loaded with fertilisers. Think about the journey of your food before it reaches your plate and from where it makes that journey. Think the same about Street Momos or any other food item you consume.

Another challenge this industry faces is the infrastructure including the temperature controlled cold chain and proper storage. The success of the Frozen Food industry in any country is dependent on infrastructure, which at present is at nascent stages in India. We believe that once the system is well established, Frozen Food can reach every nook and corner of the country, including remote areas and will significantly help enable food parity in the country.

If we talk about the ever-changing consumer behaviour, Frozen Food has both challenges and opportunities on its way to becoming a popularly accepted trend. The food industry is driven by experiments as consumers’ tastes, choices, and experiences are changing with every bite. Whether it is fusing Indian flavours with western cuisine, bringing overseas delicacies to the nation, or promoting ready-to-eat products, different brands have been experimenting with food and consumers’ choices. The perspective that once limited Frozen Food items as preserved or fried party nibbles is gradually broadening with experimentation. We strongly believe that such innovations driven by well-researched products will further escalate the shift and help players establish a stronghold.

Please give us a brief about the latest developments.

Prasuma launched the first frozen Momos range in India in 2019 which has swept the nation and is today India’s favourite Momo brand. To continue down the path of constant innovation, the brand launched another first in India, a range of Heat & Eat frozen Bao Buns. Bao Buns are a variety of dumplings, hugely popular globally for their flavourful fillings and their delightfully fluffy, soft, and airy texture.

The Bao Buns are being introduced as a delicious and convenient snack. An on-the-go delicacy, dumpling lovers can steam, microwave or pan fry the Bao Buns and enjoy a hot snack that’s preservative-free, in just minutes. People can enjoy 6 variants including the authentic Bao filling of BBQ Chicken or Char-Siu as well as variants designed for the Indian palette including Butter Chicken, Chicken Keema, Veg Pizza, Spicy Veg, and Chocolate Crunch. With this launch, the brand plans to expand its presence from 72+ cities to 120 cities and aims to reach 120 Cr revenue.

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First published on: 23-11-2022 at 12:07 IST