Being adaptive & agile is the mantra to success

Shrenik Ghodawat, the 2nd generation entrepreneur of Sanjay Ghodawat Group (SGG) and MD, Ghodawat Consumer Ltd., has been a part of company’s business operations since he was 19 years old. As of 2022, Shrenik is spearheading different verticals of the company. Speaking with IBT, the “Inspiring Entrepreneur of the Year” title winner says being adaptive and agile to the changing environment has been his constant mantra to success.

Shrenik Ghodawat

IBT: What inspired you to start your business? What were some of the major milestones in the journey of your company so far?

Shrenik Ghodawat: Founded in 2013, Ghodawat Consumer Ltd. (GCL), the FMCG arm of Sanjay Ghodawat Group (SGG) has focused on constant product innovation, customer-centricity, affordability and quality, creating a unique brand identity for itself.

GCL started its journey by manufacturing edible oils and with increasing consumer acceptance, trust and notable success, the company was encouraged to expand and diversify its product portfolio to include staples, impulse, beverages, home-care and personal-care categories.

GCL’s ‘Star’ brand atta, edible oil, jaggery, pulses, rice, salt, sugar, snacks, assorted namkeens and packaged water are now household names in Maharashtra and Karnataka, and so are the “Ayurstar” range of personal care products and the “Klemax” range of homecare products.

“Fizzinga” – a carbonated drink, “Frustar” – a fruit drink and “RIDER” – Energy Drink and ‘Coolberg’ a non-alcoholic beer are among the top-selling products in the beverages category. The dairy division includes “Star” Ghee, “Hapy” Milkshakes, and “Star” Flavoured Milk.

GCL has recently achieved a momentous milestone of 1,400 Crore in revenue in FY22 and is on track to achieve INR 2000 Crore by FY23. The aim is to be a 5000cr company by FY25.

IBT: What kind of business risk mitigation would you advise in case of another global uncertainty (such as Covid-19)?
Shrenik Ghodawat: 
To survive another global uncertainty, according to me one should be-

Adaptive to Change– While obstacles may continue, being adaptive and agile to the changing environment has been my constant mantra to success. There are so many times when we have to pivot from our original plans as per the demand and requirements in the market by our consumers.

Attention to detail- To stay at the forefront in today’s competitive disruptive environment one must be thorough and articulate in their approach and use all data points to win a share of customers’ wallets.

Focus on innovation in business practices- One should ensure optimum usage of resources and minimum damage to the environment with respect to manufacturing products, packaging and distribution. Our innovations are centred to benefit our consumers, vendors and the entire society at large.

2021 – was a challenging year for everyone as we dealt with multiple lockdowns at the national and state level. We dealt with a lot of disruption in demand and supply chain. But we overcame all these obstacles and were able to achieve 40% CAGR because of our able team, planning and focus. As we aim to enhance lives, we joined the e-commerce industry by ensuring our products are easily accessible to every consumer. We also made our products available through our Retail venture – Star Localmart stores. We identified close to 2000 plus distributors and our products are available to half a million retail outlets today.

IBT: The Indian food and beverage industry has come a long way in the last few years. How have the business & marketing operations evolved for your company?

Shrenik Ghodawat: We are predominately a regional FMCG brand, but today we are expanding to the metro as well as tier 2 cities and our focus is to deliver global standard products at an affordable price to our customers across the nation and enhance lives globally.

Apart from the traditional form of marketing, we have also revolutionised our marketing campaigns to reach the maximum potential consumers.

With the digital evolution and easy internet access, we are today present on popular eCommerce marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and the like.

We are also participating in trade shows and exhibitions like Anuga, Gulfood- Dubai, SIAL and Indus amongst many others who provide us with a global platform. We have collaborated with marketing influencers and bloggers to promote our products.

IBT: Customers are becoming more health conscious and quality conscious? How do you ensure to maintain product quality at your company?

Shrenik Ghodawat: Post-Covid, there is a change happening in consumer and market behaviour in view of consuming Food and Beverages. The consumer is becoming more selective and looking for health-conscious products and more like Plant-based foods, Healthy & affordable foods, Fortified & Energy drinks, Low Calorie & Less fat foods, clean label food and beverages, and Global flavours.

GCL aims for consumers to switch to healthier and higher-quality items by pricing the products cost-effectively. Currently, the research and development centre is working on several innovations such as replacing sugar with stevia, green packaging material, Biodegradable paper sachet, and healthy food products.

We at GCL adopted the concept of Quality by design, where quality is caused, not controlled. GCL has world-class manufacturing units which have inbuilt controls, ensuring the variation in output quality is under control and acceptable also all our manufacturing facilities are FSSC and BRC certified which ensures all our systems and controls are in place. We adhere to rules and regulations mandated by the government authorities, global health advisories, committees and organisations.

We are also in the process of drawing a roadmap for Manufacturing – Journey to Excellence, where we will be working on key Pillars of TPM, and the Quality Maintenance Pillar is one of them.

IBT: Which are the key products that your company sells? Where are they mainly exported? What market & product diversification strategies do you envision for your brand?

Shrenik Ghodawat: GCL’s brand Snacks, Assorted namkeen’s, Carbonated soft drink. Fruit Juice, Flavored Milk, Drinking water, Atta, Edible oil, Jaggery, Pulses, Rice, Salt, and Khandsari sugar, are now household names in Maharashtra and Karnataka, and so is the Ayurstar range of personal care products, and the Klemax range of homecare products. GCL has created a distinct identity and has set a benchmark of excellence in products and services with the trust of millions of consumers.

We are in the process to expand our consumer products to countries such as the Middle East, South East Asia, Africa and UAE.

Mr. Shrenik Ghodawat is the 2nd generation entrepreneur of SGG. He is the Managing Director is Ghodawat Consumer Limited. GCL, recently touched a momentous milestone by becoming an Rs. 1,400 cr revenue company in FY 22 and is targetting to cross revenue of Rs. 2,000 cr by FY 23.

This interview is a part of TPCI’s IndusFood initiative. Views expressed are personal.

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