Indian F&B companies should target ethic trade in Australia and expand gradually

Ostindo International has been enchanting palates across Australia since 1969, distributing its esteemed brands not only in major supermarkets and restaurants but also in Asian and Independent stores nationwide.

As a dynamic participant in the vibrant tapestry of Indusfood, Ostindo International is gearing up to spotlight the evolving tastes of consumers, with a special focus on the realms of snacking and beverages. In an exclusive interview with Rob Diamantopoulos, the National Business Manager at Ostindo Foods, India Business & Trade explores the company’s plans for imports of innovative products into Australia, with keen attention in the segments of snacking and beverages.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

IBT: What is the current business size of your company? Which are the popular product ranges under the F&B segments?

Rob Diamantopoulos: At present, our team comprises roughly 50 staff members. We are actively involved in importing goods, and alongside that, we proudly offer our own line of products under the banner of Maharaja’s Choice. This collection represents our significant Indian offerings. However, it’s worth noting that we are also engaged in importing products from diverse regions around the globe.

IBT: How do you envision your growth over the next five years? What are the key focus areas to maximise value for your customers?

Rob Diamantopoulos: The pivotal factors in our presence within the Indian market are twofold. Firstly, the rising influx of migrants into Australia has notably fueled an uptick in sales. Simultaneously, our concerted efforts have expanded product distribution across prominent retailers. Additionally, we are exploring opportunities to import additional brands, foreseeing a substantial contribution to our growth both within major retail chains and independent outlets. Looking forward, our strategy for fostering new growth involves introducing and distributing novel brands in the market.

IBT: How do you see the relevance of Indusfood for your business growth? What are you looking forward to on the show this year?

Rob Diamantopoulos: Our primary focus currently revolves around exploring innovations and novel products for importation into Australia. The goal is to subsequently distribute these items across both independent stores and major retailers. Specifically, our keen attention is directed towards the realm of snacking and beverages, as these sectors stand out as key drivers for growth. Consumer demand is notably centered on these categories, making them pivotal areas for our strategic emphasis and development.

IBT: What are the consumer market trends of interest to Indian companies when speaking about fresh and processed food?

Rob Diamantopoulos: Currently, the prevailing trends underscore the significance of snacking and beverages, as I previously mentioned. These categories stand out as the primary drivers of growth that we are actively seeking to leverage. While spices and meal kits have maintained their presence in the market over an extended period, the burgeoning trend is notably centered around drinks. Our import of Frooti, India’s leading mango drink, aligns seamlessly with this trend, resonating not only with Australian consumers but also with the diverse ethnic consumer base in Australia. This sector has experienced a relative lack of innovation and growth for quite some time, a gap that both consumers and retailers have expressed a desire to see filled.

IBT: How have Indian brands and F&B products gained traction in your region over the years? What products, in your view, hold untapped potential in the region?

Rob Diamantopoulos: Certainly, when it comes to gaining traction, as I noted earlier, a significant source has been the rise in migration. Additionally, the ethnic market serves as a crucial starting point for many brands. While the ethnic market may be relatively smaller in Australia, major retailers typically gauge a product’s performance in this sector before considering its expansion to a broader range of stores. However, it’s worth noting that the growth landscape has evolved, and there’s a noticeable decline in the opening of new ethnic stores these days.

IBT: What suggestions would you like to make to Indian fresh/processed F&B brands looking to expand their presence in your region via B2C/B2B mode?

Rob Diamantopoulos: I would recommend a strategic approach that doesn’t prioritize immediate widespread distribution, particularly through major retailers like Coles and Woolworths Limited. It’s crucial to introduce the product to the market gradually, initially targeting the ethnic trade. Rather than rushing into the shelves of major retailers, it’s essential to allow the product to establish its presence over time, gaining visibility among both Indian and Australian consumers. While presenting to major retailers is important, the focus should not solely be on mass distribution from the outset. Some distributors specialize exclusively in the independent trade, and a balanced strategy involves catering to both independent and major retail channels.

Rob Diamantopoulos works as a National Business Manager at Ostindo Foods, Australia

Leave a comment

Subscribe To Newsletter

Stay ahead in the dynamic world of trade and commerce with India Business & Trade's weekly newsletter.