Garuda Polyflex Foods: Facilitating Novel Consumption Patterns through Quirky yet Quality Products

PK Gopalakrishnan, Board Of Director, Garuda Polyflex FoodsA consumer is often mercurial minded. Given the number of options available in an open market such as the FMCG sector, capturing a consumer’s loyalty towards a brand for a prolonged period of time is a tough nut to crack. Therefore, a brand must keep various factors such as consumer preference, branding, price point,and distribution among others while launching a new product in the market. Having built products that endured in the fiercely competitive FMCG sector and captured the consumer’s imagination is Garuda Polyflex Foods(GP Foods). A joint venture between Garuda Food Indonesia and Polyflex Group of India, the Bangalore-based organization has introduced various successful products in the Wafer, And Crackers category under the brand name of ‘Gone Mad’.

Offered at three price points, Rs.5, Rs.10, Rs.50, and Rs.60 GP Food’s flagship product is Gone Mad Choco Sticks. Available in flavours of chocolate, choco strawberry and cashew mithai, the product has made a strong presence in the market. Additionally, at Rs.50, the company offers Gang of five in Coffee, Dark Choco and Badam in the premium wafer category, and another first of its kind product in India i.e Gery Gone Mad Sugar Cheese Crackers which is one side coated with french cheese and on the other side with sugar sprinkles and Gery Gone Mad Coconut crackers in the cracker category. Designed to suit the Indian pallet, competitively priced and branded as quirky & unique, GP Food’s products have won consumers’ minds and have become a force to be reckoned with in the highly competitive segment.

One-of-a-Kind Product
Owing to the large population and ever increasing purchasing power, India offers great market opportunities to foreign brands and companies. Given the relaxed FDI in FMCG rules, various MNCs have found inlets into the country over the last decade or so. A prime example is Garuda Food Indonesia, a $500 million food and beverage company that decided to leverage the opportunities offered by the Indian FMCG market. In 2010,when the company wanted to enter Indian markets,it partnered with Polyflex owing to its background of operating in India for more than 40 years in manufacturing, local expertise and also its infrastructure resources.

"Designed to suit the Indian pallet, competitively priced and branded as quirky & unique, GP Food’s products have won consumers’ minds"

GP Foods first conducted a pan-India market survey and a sampling study which provided the indication that the Indian market was ready to go with a chocolate flavour. The survey also concluded that chocolate consumption was on the rise in India, and consumers were eager to experiment with new brands, tastes and formats. The newfound entity GP Foods thus entered the market through the launch of Gone Mad Choco Sticks in the wafer category, a one-of-its-kind in the market during those days.

At the time of the product launch, the market had a few choco-based variations from Britannia and Sunfeast from ITC, apart from Mangharam wafers and Cadbury’s Perk. Several unorganised players also were vending similar variations. “Our offering was very unique with no competition then. All close comparable products were chocolate coated wafers but ours was Wafer coated chocolate,” explains PK Gopalakrishnan, Board of Director, Garuda Polyflex Foods. The Choco Sticks’ unique cylindrical wafers filled with chocolate found larger appeal among consumers, across all ages.“While our brand is targeted at school kids, it is seen to be irresistible to children and adults alike,” Gopalakrishnan adds.
Building an Endearing Brand
In today’s high competitive market, every product category has numerous players vying for a larger market share. But ultimately, it all boils down to the brand perception in the eyes of the consumers.

Thus companies today spend ample energy, time and money in building a strong brand image in order to grab the consumer’s attention. Having succeeded in cultivating a strong brand identity as products that are quirky, unique and offer endearing inanity, GP Foods has named its brand 'Gone Mad'. “Gone Mad is the endearing expression of the inherent need in all of us to be free. The philosophy that drives the brand Gone Mad - helps it deny order and routine and 'break the normal' in a fun yet lovable way, explains Gopalakrishnan.

" The FMCG company also encourages consumers to visit its factory as they get to understand the technology and industrial process that goes into manufacturing products"

The unique brand name appeals to every individual’s lighter side, and allows everyone to express their inner inanities.“The phrase 'Gone Mad' in itself is playful, spontaneous, entertaining, engaging and youthful. It calls for a world where consumers can let loose their unabashed love for food,” adds Gopalakrishnan. Armed with innovative products, ‘Gone Mad’ as a brand promises to kill monotony and offer differentiated delight. GP Food’s solid branding was recognized as the Most Promising Brands of 2018 award instituted by The Economic Times.

State-of-the-Art Facility to Churn out Quality Products
GP Food’s high quality products are produced at its green field production plant in Bommasandra Industrial Area on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Leveraging Garuda Indonesia’s support in terms of technical expertise and armed with qualified and professionally experienced manufacturing resources to take of the production and quality process, GP Foods has built an excellent manufacturing facility. Approved by the FSSAI and strictly following Good Manufacturing Practices, the facility ensures delivery of quality products to the customers.

The GP Food’s team ensures that quality parameters are met at every stage of the process, starting from receipt of raw materials to finished goods. All products are released to the market only after they meet the specified quality standards. The company’s qualified and experienced manufacturing staff ensures good manufacturing and housekeeping practices at every stage of manufacturing process. “Our products are manufactured in a clean and hygienic environment and we have well set standards to test all the quality parameters in our well-equipped laboratories to ensure the adherence to the standards before the product moves out of our factory,” explains Gopalakrishnan. In addition to in-house quality checks, the company also sends its products to NABL accredited external labs for analysis at regular intervals of time. GP Foods strictly adheres to all statutory norms set by Legal Metrology and K.S.P.C.B.

The FMCG company also encourages consumers (Students/faculty & IT Companies)to visit its factory as they get to understand the technology and industrial process that goes into manufacturing products. Consumers are also reassured that the firm’s products are produced by strictly adhering to all the GMP and quality standards.

Cracking Distribution
Strategic distribution has always played a crucial role in a brand’s success in the Indian FMCG segment. With a product price of Rs.5, GP Foods realized that the market it is targeting in India is huge, hence it emphasized on building a strong distribution channel. Further extending its strategy and leveraging its factory location, the company decided to kick-off its journey from South India and then capture the market further. Having built a strong foothold in Karnataka and neighbouring states, GP Foods is now moving towards the West and Northern parts of India. With its premium product offerings, the firm intends to penetrate into modern stores and institutional businesses such as educational institutions, and large corporate campuses including IT parks through Happy Canopy’s and Food Festivals.

Having experienced 75 percent revenue growth in 2017, GP Foods is now working towards growing at 100 percent in 2018. “Our ambition is to achieve a topline of Rs.500 crore by the year 2021 or eben before,” concludes Gopalakrishnan. The company is working towards forging greater connection with IT campuses with aggressive sampling of the products and creating awareness which will help GP Foods expand its business. The company ultimately intends to continue its endeavours to bring more innovative and quirky Gone Mad products to consumers.

Key Management:
PK Gopalakrishnan, Board of Director
Gopalakrishnan is a qualified Chartered Accountant from India and Management accountant from UK. He has in all 42 years of Corporate and International experience in MNCS like BASF, OMZEST Muscat, DAMAC Dubai, Philips International divisions and Foxconn, before joining Garuda Foods. He has held senior positions like Regional Controller position in Philips and Business Controller position in Foxconn India.

Offices: Bangalore
Offerings: Gone Mad Choco Stick, Gone Mad Choco Strawberry, Gone Mad Cashew Mithai, Gery Gone Mad Sugar Cheese Cracker, Gery Gone Mad Coconut Crackers,Gone Mad Chocolate Drink, Gang of 5 in Coffee, Badam and dark Chocolate & Gone Mad Special Moments Festive Gift Packs along with corporate gifting(an enticing Special Moments gifting pack for corporate gifting which can go well with all festive seasons)