Balaji, one of the largest regional potato chips and snacks brands in India, will soon move into the production of French fries and other frozen potato specialty products, a top company official said.
"Our French fries plant would be ready by May 2015," said Chandu Virani, MD of Balaji Wafers. Currently, McCain Foods (India), a wholly-owned subsidiary of its Canadian parent, rules the potato specialty market with frozen products such as French fries, aloo tikka, McCain Smiles and McCain Potato Cheese Shotz.
Balaji will enter this space through Iscon Balaji Foods, which currently manufactures ready-to-cook potato flakes. The firm, which has a strong backend supply of potatoes, will manufacture french fries near Ahmedabad. "French fries is future... everyone is eating that," said Virani who recently visited machinery manufacturers in Germany for the new project costing about Rs 50 crore (~8 million USD / 6.6 million Euro) .
Neel Kotak, MD and CEO at Iscon Balaji, said, "We will have a number of potato speciality products, including Indianised innovations to compliment french fries."
While french fries plant would be up and running by May, other products would be launched by October. The products would be made available for quick service restaurants and institutional buyers, apart from selling directly to consumers at organised retail stores.