Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, today advised industry to win the trust of the consumers and uphold their rights through transparent and legible product labelling in Hindi and regional languages too.
The onus was on industry to keep consumers’ interest supreme, he said, while speaking at ‘Massmerize 2018’, the annual retail, FMCG & e-Commerce Conference, organised in New Delhi by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
Paswan said that the consumers had the right to be correctly informed of the weight and volume of the product, the MRP, date of manufacturing and expiry of a merchandise. These should be of a size that is readable, and preferably be in languages other than just English. This would enable the consumers to make informed choices, he added.
He said that the government, on its part, had evolved standardisation norms which were enshrined in the new BIS Act of 2017 as, “We would like to see that Indian products are in no way inferior than their foreign counterparts to enable them to compete globally,” he said.
Paswan also released the FICCI-Deloitte report, ‘Consumer LEADS’ on the retail, FMCG & e- commerce sectors in India.
Sanjiv Mehta, Chair, FICCI FMCG Committee and Chairman & Managing Director, Hindustan Unilever spoke of innovation, purpose and leadership, the trio that will propel manufacturers to transform their business models. Innovation, he said, will remain the lifeblood of FMCG companies and the winner would be the one who does better. Today’s millennials, he said, were acutely aware of the brands and their purpose. This was revealed by an internal HUL survey which found that a third of the consumers chose brands that were environmentally- friendly. In addition, managements backed by a resilient team, needed to be agile and remain brutally optimistic.
Krish Iyer, Chair, FICCI Retail & Internal Trade Committee and President & CEO, Walmart India said that retail was the kingpin in the value chain. It drives consumption which propels demand, production and consumption in a virtuous cycle. Food retail, he added, played a critical role as it had the potential of doubling framers’ income in the next five years and reducing food wastage.
Rashesh Shah, President of FICCI, said that with the average age of the Indian people at 27 years, consumption was one of the key drivers of the economy. India, he said, was a 2.5 trillion dollar economy, the sixth largest in the world, and was poised to become the third largest by 2025. “We have moved away from the era of shareholder capitalism to stakeholder capitalism,” he said and added that several constraints still dog the economy. Important issues needed to be addressed such as infrastructure bottlenecks and skill gaps and making consumption scalable in the face of low unit economies.
Madhusudan Gopalan, MD & CEO, P&G, India Sub-Continent, outlined three focus areas for industry — engaging with the consumer through the media ecosystem where awareness creation was done transparently and certified by an independent third party; responsible advertising and driving brands as a force for growth and good of the society.
Ahmed El Sheikh, President & CEO, PepsiCo India, said that the marketplace required a developed physical infrastructure for connecting with the consumer, digital infrastructure for integrating the fragmented value-chain and regulation. The need of the hour was ‘glocal’ — global brands with local expertise and ethos.
Frederic Widell, Vice President, Head of South Asia & MD, Oriflame India, said that the direct selling industry had a great future in India and Oriflame remained committed to women’s empowerment. This was exemplified by the fact that 85 percent of the company’s sales force constituted by women.