How Manna Foods Is Working towards a ‘Harvest’ Period In FY18

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I.S.A.K. Nazar, its founder, was focused on consolidating the company’s activities in FY17 by creating proper systems and addressing distribution challenges. This year, the company aims to hit revenues of Rs. 140 crore, on the back of a strong product mix (pickles, dry fruits, smart kitchen range and baby foods) and renewed brand positioning.

I.S.A.K. Nazar, founder, Manna Foods

With two decades of experience in marketing, I.S.A.K. Nazar turned entrepreneur in 2000, with health foods company, Southern Health Foods Pvt. Ltd., the maker of Manna Foods. The past two years saw the company take strong strides towards its growth. “The equity participation from Fulcrum Ventures in April 2015 gave us a fresh start and allowed us to pursue opportunities aggressively,” admits Nazar. While the Manna Health Mix continues to do well, the company spent a fair amount of time consolidating its activities in FY17.

To accelerate its growth further (through brand exposure), in the first quarter of FY17, the team roped in cricketer, Ashwin Ravichandran, as its brand ambassador.  Commenting about this move, Nazar says, “Manna is a natural health products company and not just any FMCG company. Similarly, Ashwin is a special cricketer, a top-notch spinner and an emerging all-rounder. So, we felt this partnership will augur well for the organisation.” So far, Manna has involved the cricketer in several ATL and BTL activities.

In terms of turnover, the company has grown from Rs. 36 crore in 2014-15, to Rs. 47 crore in 2015-16. It is completing FY17 with Rs. 70 crore in turnover.


The fact that we ironed out distribution challenges, roped in Ashwin, introduced new products and strengthened our export presence will attribute to the expected jump in the revenue; to Rs. 140 crore in FY18


An Eye On Repositioning

The company had a lot of floor products with regional appeal, but it withdrew these from the market to bring in a positioning of Manna being a specialised food products company, rather than being perceived as a commodity.

Furthermore, in a move to strengthen its base in health and nature, in FY17, it introduced a series of multi-category products with health tag – starting with olive oil pickles, unpolished ethnic millets in proper packaging and dry fruits like apricots, figs and special black dates. It also introduced a sub-category called Manna Smart Kitchen range, with products like natural coconut milk, tomato puree, ginger garlic paste, sautéed onion paste and tamarind concentrate. “As these are healthy, home-based products, this gave us an entry into the kitchen, as majority of these products are marketed by MNCs,” says Nazar.

Foraying Into Newer Markets

While the company was predominantly a South-based brand, it decided to expand its horizons by entering Mumbai, NCR region in New Delhi and the entire Eastern region starting from Orissa, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand to West Bengal, Bihar and UP. This apart, the company also entered the global markets in a big way by exporting to the U.S, Middle Eastern countries, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia. Currently, export contributes to almost 10 per cent of the total sales and the company is working towards increasing this number.

Working Towards A Harvest Period

Apart from launching a range of new products in FY17, the company has also created proper systems and addressed its distribution-related challenges. Moreover, Manna continues to work on its baby food range which has grown by almost 200 per cent despite the international ban on advertisements. “We are working on some strategies to directly reach gynaecologists and paediatricians,” states Nazar. And, it also plans to launch new products in women’s health food category and children’s snacks category this year. “This apart, we are likely to raise second round of funds too this year,” adds Nazar. All these, the founder hopes, will help the company touch revenues of Rs. 140 crore by FY18.  “The fact that we ironed out distribution challenges, roped in Ashwin, introduced new products and strengthened our export presence will attribute to the jump in revenue,” he states. With all the strategies in place, the founder believes that it is harvest time in FY18.


Entrepreneurial Know-How

Marketing Approach: The company has roped in cricketer Ashwin Ravichandran, as its brand ambassador. It has implemented many ATL and BTL activities with Ashwin, which has augured well for the brand.

Product Development Approach: It Introduced a series of multi category products with health tag in FY17 – starting with olive oil pickles, unpolished ethnic millets in proper packaging and dry fruits like apricots, figs and special black dates. It also introduced a sub-category called Manna Smart Kitchen range, with products like natural coconut milk, tomato puree, ginger garlic paste, sautéed onion paste and tamarind concentrate.

Market Development Approach: Earlier, while the company has predominantly remained a South-based brand, it has now entered newer markets like Mumbai, NCR region in New Delhi and Eastern regions such as Orissa, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Bihar and UP. It has also entered the global market in a big way by exporting to the U.S, Middle East, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia.

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