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Win consumers’ trust with labels in Hindi, other languages, says Paswan , Oct 12, 2018

The industry should win the trust of the consumers and uphold their rights through transparent and legible product labelling in Hindi and regional languages as well. This was stated by Ram Vilas Paswan, minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution, Government of India, during his address at Massmerize 2018, the annual retail, fast-moving consumer goods and e-commerce conference, which took place in New Delhi recently and was organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
Stating that the onus was on industry to keep consumers’ interest supreme, Paswan added that the consumers had the right to be correctly informed of the weight and volume of the product, the maximum retail price (MRP) and the dates 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,” the minister said.
Paswan added that the government, on its part, had evolved standardisation norms which were enshrined in the new Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act of 2017, stating, “We would like to see that Indian products are in no way inferior than their foreign counterparts to enable them to compete globally.” He also released Consumer Leads, a FICCI-Deloitte report on the retail, FMCG and e-commerce sectors in India.
Sanjiv Mehta, chair, FICCI FMCG committee, and chairman and managing director, Hindustan Unilever Ltd, spoke of innovation, purpose and leadership, the trio that will propel manufacturers to transform their business models. He stated that innovation will remain the lifeblood of FMCG companies and the winner would be the one who does better.

Mehta added, “Today’s millennials are 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 and internal trade committee, and president and chief executive officer, Walmart India Pvt Ltd, said, “Retail was the kingpin in the value chain. It drives consumption which propels demand, production and consumption in a virtuous cycle.” He added that food retail played a critical role as it had the potential to double farmers’ incomes in the next five years and reduce food wastage.
Rashesh Shah, president, FICCI, said that with the average age of the Indian people being 27 years, consumption was one of the key drivers of the economy. He added that India was a $2.5-trillion 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,” Shah said, adding that several constraints still dogged the economy. “Important issues, such as infrastructure bottlenecks, skill gaps and making consumption scalable in the face of low unit economies, need to be addressed,” he stated.

Madhusudan Gopalan, managing director and chief executive officer, P&G, Indian 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 and chief executive officer, 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, South Asia, and managing director, Oriflame India, said, “The direct selling industry has a great future in India and Oriflame remains committed to women's empowerment. This is exemplified by the fact that women constitute 85 per cent of the company’s sales force.”

Raghava Rao, co-chair, FICCI e-commerce committee, and vice-president, finance and India chief financial officer, Amazon, proposed the vote of thanks.

FICCI-Deloitte report

The FICCI-Deloitte report, Consumer Leads, stated that India was one of the fastest-growing major economy in the world, leading to a high growth consumer and retail market, thus presenting massive investment and business opportunities in the retail space.

The Indian retail sector is expected to reach $1,750 billion by 2026 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.8 per cent.

E-commerce is expected to grow rapidly in India, one of the fastest in Asia as well as globally, at a CAGR of over 30 per cent in the period between 2016 and 2021.

Also, while the unorganised format dominates the retail market, the share of the organised segment is rapidly growing. Further, food and grocery is the major segment, accounting for 65 per cent of the retail market.
Additionally, the report revealed that emerging fields in the technology sector, ranging from precision farming to data analytics, have the potential to increase the efficiency of businesses significantly, providing more opportunities for the FMCG, retail and e-commerce sectors.

It presented interesting company case studies, including discussions with senior stakeholders of the FMCG, retail and e commerce sectors in India, thus offering a comprehensive view of the opportunities and issues in the sectors.
“Healthy growth of the Indian economy (a real GDP growth rate of over seven per cent has been estimated for 2018) coupled with favourable demographic factors in the country are expected to drive growth in the retail, CPG and e-commerce industries,” said Rajat Wahi, partner, Deloitte.

“While the retail industry is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of over 10 per cent in the four-year period from $795 billion in 2017 to reach $1,200 billion by 2021, the e-commerce market is predicted to increase by over 30 per cent over the same period to reach $84 billion in 2021 from the current $24 billion,” he added.

“In terms of upcoming trends, personalised offerings and bespoke solutions will be seen as the major priority by consumer brands. Consumers are expected to leverage technology to indulge in two-way communication with brands leading to the emergence of a new front of consumer-to-business (C2B) market model, where brands develop new products taking cues from consumers’ demands,” said Wahi.
The report outlines a holistic roadmap for industry covering strategy, operations, organisation, processes and systems. Through this approach consumers can fully leverage the potential of all the contemporary channels accessible in their interface with business.