How this three decades old cookware brand is winning with innovation?

Currently the company has three big manufacturing units in Palghar in the outskirts of Mumbai spread across 15 acres andconnected with more than 3000 dealers and retailers in the sector.
How this three decades old cookware brand is winning with innovation?
Sunil Agarwal

Vinod Cookware is one of the oldest brands in cookware industry established in 1986. The company has an extensive portfolio of about more than 400 products which are divided in seven different categories. Its one of the few brands who has taken the Health Initiative and launched series of cookware for Waterless and Oil free cooking with revolutionary technology

Talking about the Director of Vinod Cookware who is a native from Rajasthan and had joined his father's company when it was in its very initial stage and have made it what it is right now. Under the guidance of Sunil Agarwal the company has grown very huge having 5 manufacturing plant in Palgarh and by setting up their latest manufacturing plant in Gujarat, plus having Mandira Bedi as their brand ambassador, the brand has grown really huge. In an exclusive conversation he shares more light on growth plans.

What is your assessment of the cookware market in India? According to you, what are the factors propelling growth in this segment?

Till few years back, Cookware Industry barely had a mention in the retail sector. However, as technology and the need for better alternatives are increasing, cookware retail is gaining momentum.  However, the market is highly unorganized, the organized players account for only 35% to 40% of the market share. But that doesn’t deny the fact that the cookware industry, overall, is expected to grow at the rate of 21% YOY.The hottest trends are reflective of what’s on the customer’s mind as they’re choosing how to equip and furnish their Kitchen. The Cookware Industry has seen a drastic change over the past few years. Consumers earlier would follow the traditional approach of cooking in terms of the recipes, vessels and methods etc. As the world is getting smarter and better, people have now started making new choices and moving towards the modern way of approach. With every passing era, there are new set of products making an entry in the market. Overall, Changing lifestyle and increasing disposable income are expected to drive the markets growth. Furthermore, increasing number of households due to growing population and rapid development are also some of the prominent factors.

Kindly shed light on the journey of Vinod cookware. (including current human resource, distribution). What are the key challenges that you have faced so far in the Indian market? And, what was your strategy to counter them?

The journey of Vinod Cookware started in 1962 with Late Mr Rajeram Agarwal, father of Mr Sunil Agarwal. It all started with manufacturing Stainless steel utensils in small factory in Bhandup. As time passed by Vinod Cookware gained quite a lot popularity and slowly started climbing on the success ladder. Currently we have three big manufacturing units in Palghar in the outskirts of Mumbai spread across 15 acres andconnected with more than 3000 dealers and retailers in the sector. We have a total team size of over 290 employees at Pan India Level.

In terms of challenges, initially, to build a name in the extremely fragmented market was a challenge. Where other brands focussed on ‘only affordable’ products, we focussed on ‘quality’ with ‘functionality’ and hence the prices were a slight pinch to the pocket but considering the warranty that came along with it made a value for money product. Additionally, it was also challenging to make the consumers understand the reason for the higher prices. Our strategy to counter this, was to build awareness and educate audience on the difference between Vinod Cookware and the others in the Industry. Also, to have a strong recall among the consumers, we focussed upon new age Technologies, that could match the dynamic needs of the Indian consumers.

Kindly shed light on your product categories and best sellers. Going forward, what are the plans for category expansion?

We have range of productsacross segments like pressure cookers, stainless steel products, Hard Anodised products, non-stick products, platinum triplyand Bottles.  Pressure cookers have always been our best seller and bottles the recent addition too have been a huge hit. Going forward we plan to expand laterally introducing more technology with a mix of innovation revolving around SAS in our Stainless Steel range.

Who do you see as your competition within the same space?

There are a few brands like Prestige that might be considered as a competition but then again, we fall into a different league altogether. Our stainless- steel products have had us as the market leader over the past few years and we expect to continue doing so throughout the forecast period. We at Vinod Cookware have roughly captured 60 per cent of the total organised market share and are targeting a steady growth. Our products have always been genuine and sturdy ensuring our consumers health and enriching their lifestyle which has earned us their loyalty and have further made us a proud debt-free company with the annual revenue of Rs 180+crore.

What are the latest tech innovations which are happening in cookware space?

Cookware is getting equipped with many tech innovations which is aimed to make cookingexperience easier, convenient, and also healthy. The Industry has been constantly upgrading itstechnology and quality of products be its sandwich bottom technology which is widely used or SAStechnology. The Thermolon technology for its non-stick surface is the latest technology trending inthe cookware market. Another technology is silicone-based to create a PTFE-free non-stick coating.

Going forward, what are the plans to scale-up the distribution. Which Indian region is on your radar as far as expansion plans are concerned?

Vinod Cookware is a household name to many as we are present across the nation. If we talk region specific, we are strongly present in Northern and Western regions of India. Our brand has reached more than 5300 touchpoints & we intend to cross the mark by 10,000 upscaling our distribution game by end of 2020. We have a strong presence in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities, which we further want to expand to new Metros.We are looking to expand our retail base in the down south and eastregions by developing strong Channel Market Network which will help us to reach even the smallest touchpoints thus marking our presence at every household.

At last, kindly highlight your growth plans? How much investment you are looking to pump in the current financial year.

We are investing more on the E-commerce platforms as we see a lot of potential there. We are also set to come up with new cookware range with some high-end cookware which will be launched in the year.


Sunil Agarwal