Dr. Oetker Localizes for India

Founded in 1891 in northern  Germany, Dr. Oetker is a family enterprise that manufactures frozen pizzas, cakes, yogurts and other products. In India since 2007, the company first introduced frozen pizzas and muesli in the country. However, the were unsuccessful in this venture since “the home baking division was not a huge market, the concept of frozen pizza was far too early for the consumers and the chilled dessert market was at a nascent stage in India,” reports the Economic Times.

In 2008, Dr Oetker bought Delhi-based Fun Foods, that manufactured packaged food products such as mayonnaise and sandwich spreads, and revenues jumped: from $5 million  in 2008, to $35 million  last year. Sales of eggless mayonnaise  account for almost 80 percent of the overall mayonnaise volume in India.

Dr. Oetker's mayonnaise
Pointing out his first biggest lesson, Oliver Mirza, head of the company’s India vertical, said, “Whatever we do internationally, nothing works in India. People think differently in India, so you need to focus on needs and essentials. You cannot come with international concepts.”

“It’s important to understand India with its local needs,” he says, adding that mayonnaise in India is creamy unlike in the U.S. and the U.K. where it’s starchy.

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Posted on by Gunjan Bagla
Gunjan Bagla
California-based management consultant Gunjan Bagla runs Amritt, a consulting firm helping American companies to succeed in India. Amritt is the trusted advisor for India market research, India business development, India market entry, Global Engineering, Global Technology Scouting, India R&D and Open Innovation. Gunjan is author of "Business in 21st Century India: How to Profit Today from Tomorrow’s Most Exciting Market" (Hachette Book Group, 2008), Amazon's top rated title on the subject. He has appeared as the India Expert on BBC Television, Bloomberg TV, Fox Cable Business and has been quoted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Reporter and Business Week for his expertise on India.

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