Making a splash in a crowded marketplace is never easy, especially when the competition is as driven as you are. Sometimes, all the marketing in the world can’t change the simple fact that, for whatever reason, one product is better than another. In those cases, it’s best to let your product do the talking.
Such was the situation the late TP Gupta found himself in when he entered India’s edible oils industry in 1994. With his family in tow, the elder Gupta had acquired a sick unit in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. According to Mayur Group Director Abhishek Gupta, the business didn’t stay that way for long.
“When my grandfather took on the company, production of edible oil was 30 metric tonnes per day,” he tells The CEO Magazine. “Now, we produce 1,500 metric tonnes of edible oil and 1,000 tonnes of seed crushing per day.”
The Mayur Group of today is a far cry from the company TP Gupta created, but it’s closely aligned to his original vision. The Mayur name and the brands within its stable – from Cook n Fry to Sartaj Active – have become well known in Uttar Pradesh and surrounding regions, primarily on the basis of their quality.
“We don’t spend too much on advertising our products,” Abhishek says. “The quality of what we produce speaks so clearly to consumers, that’s how we’re able to sell our product.”
Those sales are split not quite evenly between general consumers and institutional customers. According to Abhishek, some of Mayur Group’s biggest industry clients include Parle, Britannia, Nestlé and PepsiCo.
“What we’ve been able to provide to the industry since 1994 is a quality product at a reasonable price, with commitments delivered on me,” he says. “Every distributor and vendor associated with us knows that’s the case.”
We don’t spend too much on advertising our products. Their quality speaks clearly to consumers.
Carving out such a niche in an industry this competitive took time, and Abhishek says the challenge began on day one. “There were a lot of domestic competitors even back in 1994,” he says. “And then, when multinational companies entered the market, things became even more rigorous.”
By foregoing marketing and concentrating on quality, Mayur was able to aggressively expand its manufacturing capabilities. The business also diversified into other areas including cattle feed, solvent extraction and even soap and detergent production.
Next on the horizon for Mayur Group is rice. Abhishek says there’s a place for rice alongside Mayur’s soya and mustard seed solvent extraction operations. “Over the next three-to-five years we’ll be working with farmers to purchase rice, remove the husks and obtain rice bran oil,” he says. “So that’s a whole new product for us, and what’s leftover can be sold to the market as rice.”
Another avenue of diversification is packaging. No stranger to the four standard types of food product packaging – tins, jars, bottles and pouches – Mayur Group produces its own packaging in-house. “So that’s everything from corrugated boxes to PET bottles,” Abhishek says. “We purchase steel from the finest suppliers and make our own tins. It makes more sense to do it all ourselves.”
And it’s here where ambition and innovation coincide for Mayur Group. Abhishek says his goal is to increase the company’s existing investment in technology. “We have a Mayur app, which consumers and distributors can use to place orders with us online as well as provide feedback to us,” he says. “By 2025, our aim is to go paperless in our sales and marketing operations.”
Abhishek believes that in the current climate, companies have had to change gear. “Now it’s about being FMCC – Fast Moving Constant Change,” he says. “The faster companies adopt changes, the better off they will be.”
The winning formula
Mayur Group’s 30-year rise in the edible oil industry can be attributed to several factors, but Abhishek believes firm decision-making was, and remains, a powerful constant. “In this industry, raw materials fluctuate so often, you need to know when to make a trade and when to walk away,” he says.
“Even if every decision you make is correct, it doesn’t matter if you’re not quick enough. FAIL stands for First Attempt In Learning – eliminating the fear of failure is a huge spur to innovate.”
As Mayur Group’s considerable output continues to grow, it’s clear the Guptas had this speed on their side when establishing what has become a winning formula. “We supply palm oil, rice bran oil, mustard oil, soybean oil and ground nut oil. We supply soya nuggets, laundry soaps, detergent and animal feed,” Abhishek says.
“Our mission is to provide quality product and consistent supply at reasonable prices. These are the key factors in our success, and will continue to be.”