Agribusiness & Food Consulting

The major share of domestic demand in a host of segments like FMCG, retail, telecommunications, comes from the rural segment. Rural India will be the growth engine of the Indian economy in the coming years. Likewise, the Indian economy is heavily dependent on agriculture and the prospects for agriculture seem promising considering the magnitude of the demand. Agriculture is one of the strongholds of the Indian economy. The public and private sector investment in agriculture have been steadily increasing since 2004-05. UC has been working with companies who want a share in the ever-increasing rural and agricultural pie. Our clients primarily look for our assistance in the form of varied service lines like growth strategy, supply chain strategy, cost management etc. to effectively cater to the rural market. In the recent past we have worked with a range of clients ranging from multinational FMCG corporations to medium sized enterprises having aspirations to cater to the rural and agriculture segment.

Practice Areas

  • UC has significant experience working on various entry and growth strategy engagements for agri-logistics. UC has built experience in both inbound and outbound logistics of various agri-commodities like soybean, sugarcane, rice bran, rice bran oil and palm oil. We also have experience in the RTE and bakery segment. We have looked at aspects like LTL/FTL optimisation, container optimisation, pallet optimisation, outsourcing to 3PL/4PL logistics firms, etc. UC has also worked in conducting location selections for warehouses/CFS/ICD and warehouse network optimisation for a range of end user industries
  • A large agri-commodity major has also approached UC to evaluate and assess the current logistics model. We analysed the current logistics model and evaluated the need for dedicated jetty, dry-bulk warehousing and tank farms
  • UC was also called upon by a large logistics group to assess the opportunities in the logistics space and to define a strategic roadmap. As a part of the engagement, UC assessed the agri-logistics landscape (transportation and warehousing) and concluded on the way forward
  • A global agri-commodity trading company was evaluating entry into the following areas and wanted to understand the economics for the same: dedicated jetty (own/ lease) for captive also other third party cargo, port based dry bulk warehousing (captive + third party) and tank farms (captive + third party). UC conducted a review of all the logistics operations of agri-commodities focused around dry bulk berth, dry bulk ware housing and tank farms. We then identified improvement opportunities and a logistic model to be adopted.

  • UC has provided consulting to food & beverage companies across a variety of categories through the value chain. We play an important role in helping food & beverage manufacturers to improve their operational efficiencies, facilitate storage, design strategic programs, optimise their sales and pioneer new markets and positions
  • One of Indias largest spirit-makers wanted improvement in operational efficiencies, thus minimising handling wastages and debottlenecking material movement with benchmarked practices of material storage and retrieval systems. UC defined a material movement path to minimise TAT (turnaround time) and facilitate systematic storage and stacking, created a process flow for directing vehicle traffic through the plant, and developed a financial model to quantify the benefits resulting from savings in manpower and reduction in handling wastage
  • Also, one of the largest producers and distributors of fresh yeast, bakery ingredients, flavors and seasoning was targeting a growth of USD 100 million over the next 5 years in India. UC conducted extensive analysis to provide the client a clear view of the bakery and allied market segments in terms of market size of key segments and growth potential, food consumption trends amongst end-consumers, key success factors and competitive landscape across segments
  • An investor in a premium natural mineral water company wanted the company to improve its sales, market penetration, and build better brand recognition across customer segments. UC created an in-depth implementation plan to market the brand by providing the marketing strategy including the brand image, target segment, pricing and distribution plan, and also provided a better understanding of the international market through exhaustive case studies.

  • Companies approach UC to help them define entry strategies for agri-products and channel strategies to reach customers for the agri-products. UC applies its deep industry expertise to help clients understand channel economics, value-equivalence of products, customers\' needs and product attributes/differentiation as perceived by entities to craft and implement sustainable strategies
  • UC has assessed the feasibility for a multi-national company to enter into pulses. UC gained insights into the value chain of pulses, channel economics (across processing, distributor, dealer, retail outlets), value proposition of polished/un-polished pulses, product attributes/ differentiation as perceived by entities and concluded on the entry into branded pulses segment
  • UC also assessed the feasibility for a multi-national company to enter into rice bran oil (RBO). We gained insights into the value chain of RBO, channel economics (across processing, distributor, dealer, retail outlets), value proposition of RBO, product attributes/ differentiation as perceived by entities and concluded on the entry into the branded RBO segment
  • Companies have also approached UC to examine whether the soya-bean crushing industry is undergoing a consolidation and if so, to determine possible acquisition candidates. We created a day-wise economic model based on soya-bean input prices, crushed soya-meal and refined soya-bean oil to gauge profitability of soy-crush mills. We also segmented the crushing mills in each state and determined the trend in consolidation over 5 years.

  • UC have assisted companies in entering/providing agri-related services and also assisted banks in identifying areas of focus in rural credit lending. As a part of developing a route to market and growth strategies for agri-companies, we have assessed the need for various services that can be provided to deepen the farmer connect
  • UC identified areas of focus in rural credit lending for a multinational bank. We profiled all the sectors in the agri-value chain, ranging from seeds, agro-chemicals, agri-equipments, drip-irrigation, agri-pumps, agri-logistics, agri-processing, dairy, poultry and other agri-services. Based on the extensive profiling, we then defined a rural credit lending strategy
  • UC has also conducted an engagement for a private equity firm where we identified opportunities for investment across the agri-value chain, including aspects of agri-services and agri-financing.

  • The seeds and agrochemical landscape is a highly competitive marketplace dominated by multinational and large Indian generic companies. Given UCs deep knowledge on farmer buying behavior and experience in supply chain optimisation, companies approach UC to help them in defining and implementing growth strategies, marketing and sales strategies and cost optimisation strategies

  • UC has also developed new product/product strategies, stock keeping unit (SKU) strategies, and pricing and channel strategies within this vertical. UC applies its deep industry expertise to help clients design and implement demand forecasting and production planning, warehousing network optimisation, achieving increased on time in full (OTIF), improving cash-out/cash-in efficiency, territory management and strategic sourcing

  • For example, UC defined and implemented a growth strategy for an agro-chemical company to reach its targeted revenue and profitability growth targets. In the growth strategy definition phase, UC extensively travelled across 16 states and covered 35 key districts to determine farmer cropping patterns, buying behavior related to pesticides/ herbicides and insecticides, product associations, met/ unmet needs and influencers involved. UC implemented initiatives across 16 states on distributor/dealers, farmer pull-through programs and product initiatives. The implementation of these initiatives led to a 50% improvement in the EBIDTA on the first year itself

  • UC has also assisted a seed company to leverage its seed presence and grow in the bio-fuels space. UC based its growth strategy on two pillars - farmer economics of growing sweet sorghum, and distillery economics of procuring sweet sorghum from the farmer and manufacturing ethanol from it. UC conducted primary research in states where the crop could be grown and initiated discussions with sugar-mills. UC also conducted a detailed analysis on distillery economics considering stand-alone/integrated distilleries. Based on the above, UC defined a growth strategy encompassing elements with regard to improving brix content in seed, potential target customers, and value proposition to the target customers and geographies to target.

  • With labour scarcity driving increased mechanisation, there has been an increase in agri-equipment penetration. Given UC's deep knowledge on farmer buying behavior, companies approach UC to help them define entry strategies, and to create and implement growth strategies in the agricultural machinery space

  • For example, UC were called in by a leading tractor tyre manufacturer to assess and conclude whether the company should enter the farm tyre original equipment or replacement market. We conducted primary research with tractor original equipment manufacturers to gain insights into the number of tractor tyre vendors, share of business (SOB) with each vendor, pricing and other differentiators. We also determined the market for replacement, key success factors for addressing the market, competitive landscape, pricing and channel dynamics. We concluded on the attractiveness of the original equipment and tyre replacement market in each of the northern states. We then assessed the retail format which can be employed by the company to enter the market and the financials for the same

  • UC has also assisted a multi-national company in identifying opportunities in PTO drive shafts/ clusters/ displays in India. We did a market landscape to gauge trends in various horse power segments of tractors, key purchase criteria of original equipment manufacturers, the competitive landscape and the routes to market. We concluded on the addressable market and the strategic action points for the client.

 

Case examples of our work

Please contact us at execution@universalconsulting.com for additional information