BL Agro started as a trading commodity business with mustard oil as the only product. Its journey dates back to pre-independence days when the business of dealing in edible oils was not considered of much repute and the business ethics were also low. After researching and experimenting to process and provide the best quality mustard oil, the company came up with the branded mustard oil by the name ‘Bail Kolhu’ in 1986. Eventually, it ventured into different varieties of edible oils and successfully captured the entire Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Bihar markets.
“We can say that we have gradually evolved as a business and while we penetrate each market, we get to learn new things which help us improve further. In terms of growth, we have been able to achieve 30 percent in comparison to last year,” Ashish Khandelwal, Managing Director, BL Agro said.
What’s on Offer?
The brand is currently offering 75 SKUs. In 2019, the company introduced Nourish, a food products brand, which provides flours, cereals, pulses, and namkeens, and has been able to penetrate 200 cities across 13 states of India in a span of two years.
In September last year, the company also forayed into the ready-to-cook category. “We introduced poha, pasta, macaroni, and muesli last year and wish to expand the range going ahead. However, due to COVID, the imported machinery that was supposed to be installed could not be done and our plans got delayed by a year and a half. Currently, we are waiting for the things to come in our favor so that our plans can be well executed and we can offer a wide range to our customers,” he asserted.
BL Agro ventured into the e-commerce space with its brand Nourish in July last year. Nourish e-store has been designed and rolled out with customization features, to provide easy access to BL Agro’s flagship products, across nine categories including pulses, spices, dry fruits, cereals, ready-to-cook items, etc.
“Our D2C is at a very initial stage and is not a major contributor in comparison to offline sales. A majority of the population in India is still not comfortable with online shopping and prefers to buy groceries and other household items from their nearby shops. This certainly has an impact on our D2C model of business and we have not been able to achieve what was expected,” Khandelwal stated.
All of BL Agro’s manufacturing units are 100 percent automated and are innovative which helps in crushing, packaging, vacuum packaging, etc.
“If we talk about the role of technology in production, it is definitely a must. Without apt technology we won’t be able to fulfill the growing demands of our customers,” he said.
Building Effective Marketing
Since last year, BL Agro started focussing aggressively on marketing and to make its presence PAN India, the brand on-boarded Bollywood actress and fitness icon to endorse its food products brand, Nourish. For its signature brand, Bail Kolhu, the company on-boarded actors like Manoj Bajapayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Pankaj Tripathi, all three of them share similar humble backgrounds from small towns of U.P. and Bihar just in-line with our brand, Bail Kolku, which started from a small city of UP.
“We believe that our customers can very well connect with our brand icons Shilpa Shetty, Manoj Bajapayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Pankaj Tripathi. They all are household names across the country and through their massive popularity we wish to reach the maximum eyeballs and create brand recognition,” Khandelwal said.
The total turnover of BL Agro is close to Rs 4,000 crore in FY21-22 and its target is to reach Rs 6,000 crore by the end of FY 22-23.
Additionally, the company plans to take its Nourish Exclusive Brand Outlets (EBOs) count to 100 by next year, from the current 15. “We had a plan to take it up to 100 EBOs by this year but due to the ongoing pandemic, we had to postpone it for some time. We currently have 15 EBOs across the North India belt and we intend to take this number to PAN India around next year. We are waiting to get the situation better and move ahead prudently,” Khandelwal concluded.
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