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Small Egg Producers Succeed with Branding

by 5m Editor
23 November 2010, at 9:31am

INDIA - A handful of entrepreneurs engaged in poultry farming have created a niche for their innovative product – branded eggs.

A few years ago some poultry farmers in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, launched branded eggs but gave up the exercise due to lack of points of sale, reports Business Standard of India. But increasing brand consciousness among urban consumers and points of sale available at retail stores has now provided an opportunity to poultry farmers to sell branded eggs.

These eggs have a higher vitamin and mineral content and are free from odour. Though branded eggs are rapidly increasing their presence in urban pockets, the sales figures are not yet very impressive, since the concept is at a nascent stage. However, since the per-capita consumption in India is 43 eggs a year, the potential is huge.

M.L. Kansal, after retiring as a professor from Panjab Agriculture University in Ludhiana, had been making persistent efforts to launch premium-quality branded eggs. The launch pad was provided by Bharti-Walmart followed by Hypercity, which enabled him to roll out branded eggs as a niche market product.

"The pricing is slightly higher than that of normal eggs but the packaging in cartons with labelled information on the nutritional benefits and expiry date makes it the pick of the day," said Dr Kansal.

Namakkal in Tamil Nadu, the egg capital of India with a production of 32.5 million eggs per day – 30 per cent of India's total egg production – has also joined the league of branded eggs and players like Krishna Farms, Bommu Farms and SKM Eggs have forayed into the branded eggs business.

According to Dr D. Chandershekharan, professor of animal nutrition at the Veterinary College, Namakkal, "Although production of branded eggs is at a nascent stage, it is definitely likely to fetch volumes for poultry farmers. Branded eggs ensure a clean production atmosphere and stringent production norms, while unbranded eggs may be contaminated. Despite the price difference demand is picking up in supermarkets due to consumer consciousness."

Raju Bhonsale of Yojna Poultry Farms of Pune told Business Standard that he believes that the packaging in cartons makes for easy handling, while Ravi Banerji of Raipur, who had opted out of the branded eggs business a few years ago due to lack of marketing support, plans to revive his business because of queries pouring in from organised retail chains.

The introduction of branded eggs has helped change consumption patterns too.

"In the month of Shravan, the demand for non-vegetarian food dips. We observed that the demand for normal eggs dwindled by 40 per cent but that of branded eggs fell by only 10 per cent," said Mr Bhonsale.

Poultry farmers say that growing incomes and health-consciousness will help them switch over from unbranded to branded eggs.