Wheat, in terms of acreage and tradable value, is a crucial commodity for guaranteeing global food security. The past several years has seen India, the second-largest producer of wheat in the world, producing 105-115 million tonnes of wheat yearly. Being the second-most essential staple food after rice, the demand for wheat has been rising dramatically with the growing population. With the increase in population and with the baking industry in India gaining immense popularity, wheat had an extensive range of applications being used primarily in the form of flour for making pasta, pizza, and various snack items resulting in increased consumption of these products rather than just atta.
Naga Mills' Technical Director, Vijay Anand, is a seasoned industry veteran. He (an Engineer) who graduated from Cardiff University with a master's degree in Supply Chain Management and Lean Manufacturing. Vijay is a pioneer and foresees a bright future for Naga Mills in the days to come based on plans for enhancing and strengthening core competencies and making the most of any favourable opportunities that would come their way.
Industry Outlook engaged in an exclusive interaction with Naga Mills' Technical Director Vijay Anand, to explore Vijay Anand's latest endeavours and initiatives regarding his responsibilities in advancing the wheat flour trade and flour milling sector following the current dynamics and challenges in the segment.
What are the major expectations of customers from a company offering wheat products? How do you strategize to meet those?
Naga Mills, which started as a firm dealing in and milling wheat flour, has spent more than 50 years becoming a diverse organisation with divisions that cater to the detergents, minerals, power, retail, property, logistics, and food industries. People demand quality and taste to be consistent every day, so maintaining flour consistency is essential. Wheat is kept in silos for conservation. The largest private wheat storage facility in India, with a 77,000-tons Silo Complex, was first
introduced by Naga Mills, increasing wheat handling efficiency. Storage and preservation are challenges when it comes to processing as preservation of grain is critical and has to be maintained 365 days. In our research and development lab, we analyse the grain and crops while developing solutions based on their characteristics to match the quality of our finished products. Given the requirement for a well-established R&D Center, NAGA Mills made every effort and established its own full-fledged Research and Development Centre in the year 2018–19 for providing flour solutions to industry and market.
Shed light on the wide range of wheat products that you offer to clients in the wholesale and retail segment.
Naga Mills is one of the well-known household names in the southern region of India. We are the leaders in market in terms of the quantity and price of retail products sold to consumers and are the main supplier of maida, atta, and sooji to the retail and wholesale sectors. Also, the flour needed by large institutional customers to make biscuits is produced by our company, whether it comes from Britania, Parle, ITC, or Nestle.
As everyone is aware, not all types of wheat yield the same type of flour, so we have a wide variety of flour available for making bread, cakes, and other baked goods, we have a highly distinctive and well-known paratha in the south that calls for stretchy flour, we have developed capabilities to make application-specific flours to cater to the B2B and HORECA segment with an extensive range of products and specific application and we developed flour from our Indian wheat in our mill to replace imported flour for MNCs, something we are proud of for India.
The company's flagship division, Naga Foods, has successfully supplied high-quality wheat-based goods including atta, maida, and sooji over the years to the various regions of Tamil Nadu
What are the key points that differentiate your company from other players in this segment?
We have a supply chain approach to the industry; thus, we are more than just a flour milling business. Our company differs from other businesses because we use a farm-to-palm strategy. We back end integrated all the way up to direct farmer sourcing, evaluating and implementing quality control at the procurement locations itself with the proper storage procedures and at the front end we produce value added products like pasta, noodles or ready to eat frozen and fresh products, Naga Mills, Savorit and OYALO are well-known brands in southern India.
Growth has been our company's primary motto since its founding in 1962, and it greatly inspires each of us. Our founding chairman originally worked as a wheat dealer, and we quickly rose to become the market leader in the wholesale, retail, and defence sectors. We currently produce atta, sooji, and maida successfully in two different locations in Tamil Nadu, and we were the first to introduce packaged versions of these products.
Where do you see this market in the near future? What is the future roadmap for your company?
The milling operations of the company have been centralised into a single, well-placed campus in Dindigul processing 1000 tons per day Tamil Nadu, India. In addition to Dindigul, Naga Mills has already increased its capacity in Arupukottai to 275 tonnes per day, and over the next 30 years will be a fully integrated farm to palm company with a wider range of product offerings to the end consumers. With the rise of organised businesses like Adani, Fortune, and ITC as well as increased investment, the food industry is now becoming more well-structured. Strategically, we see growth in this category. Our primary goal is to grow into Tamil Nadu's leading food supplier and wheat processor.