ITCs branded packaged foods arm "one of fastest-growing foods businesses in India"

ITC's branded packaged foods arm "one of fastest-growing foods businesses in India"

India-based consumer goods giant ITC has outlined plans to set up 20 food manufacturing plants across 12 states in the country.

ITC, which owns brands including Bingo snacks and Yippee noodles, has signed a memorandum of understanding with India's Ministry of Food Processing Industries to invest INR100bn (US$1.55bn) in the expansion of the company's domestic production and logistics network.

The conglomerate's origins are in tobacco and it remains one of the largest cigarette manufacturers in India. ITC also has interests in sectors including paper, hotels and information technology.

However, announcing ITC's investment plans on Friday (3 November), CEO and executive director Sanjiv Puri said the group had "a vision to be the largest food and consumer products company in India".

Puri added: "With a population of 1.3bn, India's consumption market is projected to triple to US$4trn by 2025 with the bulk of expenditure going into food products."

The factories are to manufacture products including Bingo snacks, Yippee noodles and Sunfeast biscuits.

ITC also claimed the plants would be "the epicentre for the development of integrated and competitive agri-food value chains with programmes for farmer empowerment and climate-smart agri development".

Puri said: "Improvement in agricultural yields and increase in the level of processing from the current 10% to 30% can increase [India's] GDP by as much as fivefold."

ITC claims it is India's third-largest branded packaged foods manufacturer.

In the year to the end of March, ITC said its FMCG business - excluding its cigarette operations - saw its sales rise 8% to INR105.12bn. ITC said the rate of growth was "subdued" amid muted demand and India's policy of demonetisation, launched in November 2016. The company also said promotions within India's branded packaged foods market "intensified", while manufacturers also faced "a sharp rise in input costs".