Kameda Seika and local partner launch premium rice snacks in India

09, Jan. 2020

(From L to R) Jun Kono, director, Daawat Kameda (India) along with LT Foods officials Vijay Kumar Arora and Ritesh Arora unveiling their locally manufactured Kari Kari snacks in New Delhi on Jan. 8, 2019. (Photo courtesy of LT Foods)
(From L to R) Jun Kono, director, Daawat Kameda (India) along with LT Foods officials Vijay Kumar Arora and Ritesh Arora unveiling their locally manufactured Kari Kari snacks in New Delhi on Jan. 8, 2019. (Photo courtesy of LT Foods)

By Atul Ranjan

NEW DELHI, NNA - Japanese rice cracker giant Kameda Seika Co. is now wooing the huge Indian market with its popular crunchy cracker and peanut snacks.

Headquartered in Niigata prefecture, the leading Japanese rice cracker company and an Indian partner have started selling and producing its signature Kaki No Tane snack with local flavours under the new Kari Kari brand.

This follows its joint venture with India’s leading rice based-food conglomerate LT Foods Ltd. in 2017 to form Daawat-Kameda (India) Pvt. Ltd. with Kameda holding a 49 percent stake.

Built with an investment of 250 million rupees ($3.5 million), their factory at Sonipat in the northern Indian state of Haryana kicked off production in November last year. It has an initial capacity to produce 4 metric tons (MT) of rice crackers per day, equivalent to over 29,600 packages, according to company officials.

The venture makes India the sixth country to produce Kameda crackers locally, after Cambodia, China, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

“We have jointly invested 700 million rupees in the company,” Jun Kono , director of Daawat Kameda (India), told NNA Wednesday on the sidelines of a press conference organized to unveil the JV’s India plans and their anticipated products.

“While 250 million rupees have been used in setting up the factory, the rest will be spent on ramping up local operations including marketing and expanding production capacity in the near future,” he said.

According to Ritesh Arora, head of India and Far East, LT Foods, the joint venture has set a revenue target of 100 million rupees in the next fiscal year starting April 1, 2020. He expects revenue to grow 13 times in the next five years as the firm embarked on an aggressive retail strategy in the country.

“We’ll increase Kari Kari’s presence in modern trade and e-commerce considerably in the next fiscal year. Our plan is to boost its presence at 35,000 retail outlets across the country in the next four to five years,” said Arora.

He said Daawat-Kameda has plans to double the manufacturing capacity to 8 MT per day in the next three years to meet expansion goals. The snacks will also be sold in other countries in the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and beyond gradually.

“We are exploring export opportunities in India’s neighboring countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and may start exporting Kari Kari from the next fiscal year (FY 20-21),” Arora told NNA during the conference.

While the overall snacks industry worth 300 billion rupees is highly competitive in India, Daawat-Kameda is mainly targeting the premium and healthy snacks segment which takes up 9 to 10 billion rupees of the market and growing at a robust 22 to 25 percent each year, said the company in its media statement.

Hence, Kari Kari is positioned as a premium Japanese snack.

The company said the snacks are made using locally sourced ingredients. A specific type of local rice is its key ingredient.

Kari Kari offers four different flavors - wasabi, chilli garlic, salt-pepper and tangy spice, which has the quintessential curry taste of India.

In Japan, Kameda Seika commands the Japanese rice cracker market with around 30 percent share.