We have created India s first social brand

ASBAH, a brand owned by DCP India, is a leading food / staple brand which is equally well known for its social initiative of “Women Empowerment”. The unique business model combined with a social cause has created a buzz. In an exclusive interview Kuber Seth, Director, ASBAH spoke about the company’s mission and vision
We have created India s first social brand

How do you see agriculture sector in the country? What are main challenges?

Agriculture sector is passing through a difficult phase. In the last two years, we have witnessed droughts in several parts of the country and farmers are in distress. To make the things worse, global commodity prices are also sluggish. Since 2014, prices of rice have seen a downward trend of more 50 percent. Doubt remains same for the upcoming season too as the farmers may not opt to sow paddy seeds due to the continuous fluctuation in prices which may adversely affect production of rice. Conditions are same for the other grains as well. For the smooth market operations, consistency in the agriculture production is a must. Urgent attention / action by the Government can resolve this issue.

Do SMEs of agri sector such as DCP India need some extra incentives given, the present agri scenario of the country?

Looking at the present scenario, government should focus on incentive based programmes for the farmers at the first level so that they can maintain consistency in the production of major food grains. If farmers are assured of good price of their produce along with availability of other inputs at reasonable cost and timely support, I am sure that the current agriculture crisis can be resolved. The government has accorded top priority to the sector and support from them will really encourage the farmers to make an adequate production plan for the upcoming seasons.

What all it takes to make a company one of the top 100 SMEs in the country?

From commodity trading to food retail, we have had a long journey. Being awarded as one of Top 100 winners of SME’s was a big achievement and a great source of motivation for the entire DCP INDIA family. We have passed all the stringent evaluation processes & criteria laid down by the Jury Board of the 3rd Edition of India SME 100 Awards. The winners have been chosen based on their score on the financial parameters and non financial parameters of the evaluation format. With a high growth pattern, we have already entered the Large Enterprise category. To add on to the award lists, we recently received a prestigious award from International Taste & Quality Institute (iTQi), Brussels, Belgium.

From Commodities trading, how it started – the Social Brand-ASBAH Journey?

DCP India started in the mid 1970’s as Delhi Chem Plastiks. Dealing in polymers, building a dedicated supplier network and loyal customer base was the major focus. In late 2000’s the company went for a total makeover and was renamed DCP India Pvt. Ltd. to better convey the diversity of products being handled: from PVC flex banners to Aluminum Foil for packaging and from Dairy to Agro Products. The company shifted focus from B2B business model to B2C. Thus was born “ASBAH – INDIA’S 1ST SOCIAL BRAND” – the outcome of a visionary leader who thought of innovating in the staples / food category. The clutter on the retail shelf had to be cut out but with a difference – “Women Empowerment”. What could be noble than the cause of “Empowering Women”? Business sense combined with a noble cause.

What are the products in offering under Brand ASBAH ?

ASBAH brings you a wide range of world-class aromatic Basmati Rice (22 variants), Maida (Refined Wheat Flour), Dalia (Porridge), Poha (Rice Flakes), Sooji (Semolina) and Besan (Gram Flour). Every pack is a guarantee of great quality. It will surely satiate your taste buds and give you many reasons to call Asbah products “Food for Good”.

How would you make ASBAH a global brand- with regard to quality and consumers’ expectations?

The company’s vision is to become a brand which is respected globally for delivering best quality product and meet customers’ expectations. After successfully launching at Gulfood 2015 in Dubai, ASBAH hugely popular in India, is all set to launch it’s premium quality Basmati Rice on the shelves of the UAE’s popular supermarkets and hypermarkets such as LULU Hypermarket, Carrefour, Union Co-op, Sharjah Co-op and Abu Dhabi Co-op from June 2016.
Apart from Asbah’s sincere commitment to providing premium food products, the brand is committed to the philanthropic projects in India and around the world. Initially, Asbah plans to conduct roadshows across the United Arab Emirates to communicate the message to the women’s associations, women’s clubs and prominent malls and retailers to highlight their aim of empowering women.
Asbah products are internationally available in the USA, Italy, Cyprus, Turkey, Bahrain, the Maldives, London, Ghana, Jordan, etc.

Why is ASBAH linked with women empowerment?

Gender inequality is a harsh reality. Changing this requires transformation of mindset. It needs action at the ground level, and ASBAH has taken it upon itself to do that. In fact, ASBAH’s prime motive is to create a balanced society, where women and men have equal rights to pursue their dreams.
ASBAH contributes a part of its profits to the empowerment of underprivileged women. The money is used for education, sports training and skill development of these girls. Currently, ASBAH is supporting six accomplished boxers, a dress designer, a yoga instructor, an aspiring yoga practitioner and a physically challenged lawn tennis player.

What are expansion plans?

At ASBAH, we believe that there’s no substitute for quality. We also believe that no matter how great, quality can always be improved. That’s why we are continuously upgrading our technology and processes. That’s also the reason why we have one of India’s most advanced processing units. Located at Sonipat, Haryana (India), the Company boasts of an integrated and automated state-of-the-art plant and machinery. The automated technology ensures complete traceability – from the source of raw material to the packing, every detail is documented, checked and verified. To meet the demand from the market, we are planning to set up another plant at Sonipat very soon.

How do you distribute your products?

We have created our own distribution channel that fulfills the requirements of the local retailers / grocers. Reasonably priced, our products are available in all metros and major cities. In Delhi, the products are available at retail counters and Super- Markets like V-Mart, Vishal Mega Mart, Sabka Bazaar and Modern Bazaar. For those buying online, ASBAH products are available on Amazon, Big Basket and Sangam Direct.  It is also available on B2B portal like JustBuyLive.

On financial front, what would be the target of FY 16-17 ?

From a measly Rs. 43 crore in FY 2011-12, revenues jumped to Rs.500cr in FY 2015-16. Our target is to reach to Rs.750 crore in FY 2016-17.

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BK Jha is the Special Correspondent of Rural & Marketing. Prior to this he has been associated with The Hindustan Times, Political and Business Daily along with many other media organisations.
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