Muesli lover Aditya Bagri takes his family business forward, to focus on nutritive products for a healthy lifestyle
Bagri is now coming out with his own distinct QSR segments under the Lawrence Mills brand, which is completely independent of Bagrrys. “
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Thanks to the family-owned-business, Aditya Bagri did not have to go through the unenviable drudgery of a job seeker to launch his career. But that does not make his work easy. As the business scenario is a continuously evolving entity new challenges crop up with unique complexities often making strategizing for the 27-year-old director of Bagrry’s India Ltd. a tough task to handle.
The firm deals in breakfast cereals and Bagri is the second generation scion of the 50-year-old Bagrry’s.
Though the route was clear to him even as he grew up, Bagri says he ensured that he had the required qualifications that would make him apt for the role. Unlike most children who are terrified by numbers and math, Bagri had a passion for them. “I was never intimidated by math,” he recalls. “I like its logical reasoning. Science and economics was part of my school curriculum and I love both the subjects,” he says. It was then easy for Bagri to pursue a course of study that would encompass his passion. He chose mathematics and statistics for his degree studies, much to the surprise of friends and fellow classmates. “Math is an offbeat choice,” he says by way of explanation.
Pursuing an MBA in England and working for few firms before returning home, Bagri says though he had developed professionally, the opportunities were in India and more so at the family firm.
He joined the family business at 23 and since then has been slowly marshalling himself to have a distinct identity of his own. “I think the urge to do something of my own is in my DNA,” he says.
Food processing business
The family has been into food processing in the last 50 years. Aditya’s father, Shyam Bagri forayed into FMCG two decades ago. “As a flour miller, dad knew that the most nutritive part of the wheat grain is the bran." This encouraged Bagri senior to begin selling wheat bran as a breakfast cereal years back.
Later, oats and then muesli was added to the breakfast range in the early 90s. Were these cereals a part of Bagri’s breakfast in his growing up years? “Not at all,” he says honestly. “Like other children our age, we were into sandwiches, noodles, pizzas, etc. Children love these options even though we grew up hearing and seeing the healthy options the company made. However, when I turned 17, I found that I weighed more than any normal 17-year-old and decided to do something about it. Besides joining a gym, I made my first healthy food habit by having muesli for breakfast. Once I lost 20 kgs by cutting down on snacking on bread and biscuits, I found the quality of my life was much better. I haven’t missed my daily morning meal of muesli since then,” says Bagri, endorsing the cereal.
The business was a routine topic of discussion at home. Bagri thus had a lot of insights and what to expect when he joined the business. In the last few years, he has focused on distribution, both at the back-end and consumer-end, besides building a marketing team. The senior Bagri's mandate to his son was to make the company’s products visible on shop shelves and to ensure it was available everywhere. “We strengthened sales and distribution and ensured the products are widely available. The category is growing,” he says.
The company has registered a 30 percent year-on-year growth in the last two years, says Bagri. As a category, muesli is the favourite of the alternate breakfast cereal market. Some time ago, the company came out with muesli with pre-blended milk on IndiGo flights which can be had in warm and cold water. It is extending that option to other popular food that people like to munch on when hungry or have meals with colleagues.
Healthy food options
Bagri is coming out with his own distinct QSR (quick service restaurants) segment, under the Bagrry's portfolio. “We will be focusing on making nutritive products for a healthy lifestyle. It is run by a distribution team making us the only Indian player of size to have a different product," says Bagri.
The company's chain of outlets will sell ready-to-eat foods called Bagrry’s On The Go which include healthy options to processed foods such as burgers, sandwiches, desserts, wraps, muffins – with brans, muesli and oats as ingredients. There are plans to have beverages, snacks, lunch, dinner and snacking options as the idea develops further.
The first quick service restaurant will be located in the Vasant Square Mall at Vasant Kunj, Delhi in the second week of February, 2016. From Delhi-NCR, the company plans to go to other metros. Primarily, these outlets will be inside malls and corporate complexes where people are looking for healthy food options. “The space is now dominated by MNCs. We feel that we are the only local player with a pan-India presence and have grown organically. We are a consumer-accepted brand and so I am confident we will do well,” says Bagri.
With this new plan in place, the company hope to grow from a turnover of Rs 77 crore at present to Rs 400 crore in 2020. "We hope to touch Rs 100 crore turnover in 2016,” said Bagri.
Bagri insists that none of his plans are his own. “I have my father for guidance and a competent team which makes all this possible,” he says. Next on the agenda is a chocolate crunchy cereal for children and, grain-based products.
He has no time in his schedule to unwind. But he does read fiction and case-studies once he finishes his six-day week.
“I love to try out different food. I am a foodie,” Bagri insists, even as his trained eye picks out only healthy options from the different cuisine his palate thirsts for.
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