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Editor's Note

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Varun Berry is busy experimenting with different strategies as he seeks to perfect the Britannia recipe

N Mahalakshmi

It’s amazing how managing director Varun Berry has energised Britannia into a brisk company by addressing the basics. For consumer companies, in theory at least, the recipe for success is pretty simple. Get your product right, ensure it is available widely and sales will surely trickle in. But simple things are not necessarily easy to execute. Berry has tweaked the basics effectively to put the company on the fast track. 

Having learnt his ropes at the country’s biggest consumer company, Berry knows the power of distribution. Enhancing reach has played a vital role in selling more biscuits at Britannia. Going forward, even if it mechanically does more of the same, volume flow in its existing products is almost guaranteed. But Berry has more ambitious plans. He wants Britannia to flex its dairy muscle and become more than a bread-and-cookies company. Surely, the foods segment is full of potential, but by no stretch of imagination is it an easy business to crack. 

Right from getting the product right to managing the supply chain, it’s a complicated business. Even HUL & ITC, with their incredible distribution and marketing muscle, have taken years, not to mention billions, to establish themselves in this segment. Berry believes the company has a good chance to succeed in this segment, though, not the least because Britannia is already a trusted brand. To get a systematic account of how Berry has transformed Britannia and where he intends to take it in the coming years, read From Good Day To Better. 

In other stories, we have a feature on consumer companies embracing the inorganic route to augment growth. Companies are paying top dollar not only to get a foothold in new growth areas, but also to stifle competition from small, emerging rivals. But do these costly acquisitions really make sense? To know more, see The Consumer-Buying Spree

My favourite feature in this issue, however, is Chetan Parikh’s piece. Himself an avid reader and a true-blooded value investor, Parikh has packed incredible insights in his value investment approach. It’s the most lucid piece I have read in a while. That must-read is called Moats Versus Boats.

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