Minimum Bureaucracy and Maximum Business Policy should be the priority that all govt departments must own up to

By Indraneel Chitale, Partner, Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale

Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale, one of the largest Pune -based manufacturers and sellers of sweets, savouries, milk and milk products, needs no introduction. Indraneel Chitale, Partner, Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale, after completing his graduation took a short training stint at Gea Food Systems in the Netherlands and later joined the family business. He is responsible for the innovations in the company and also the growth of it in Pune and across the world. In a conversation with nuFOODS Spectrum, Chitale shares valuable insights about the company and their strategies for the future. Edited Excerpts:

Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale has been in the food business for the last over eight decades. How has the journey been thus far? 

Chitale Bandhu is a part of the 85-year-old Chitale Group spanning verticals like dairy, Indian sweets and snacks, fruits, instant mixes and genetics. Over the past decade, it has been able to become a crucial brand for the group companies and also build its repertoire over omnichannel presence. Currently, it operates in 10 states, 2 union territories, and 30+ countries via distributors and multi-brand retailers besides running 85+ stores in Maharashtra and Goa. We export to America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia and Australia.

Can you tell us about your contribution to the food processing industry in Maharashtra?

We have many firsts including the first fully automated machines for Pedha to Ladoo the first fully HACCP-compliant store back in the 90s to use RFID for billing to ultramodern processes. In the process, we have been able to generate employment across the group to more than 2000 people directly as well as support more than 4000 people indirectly via our network predominantly based in Maharashtra.

Tell us about your manufacturing units and their capacities.

We have six manufacturing units across two states. They are all FSMS compliant and adhere to the highest standards of design, food safety and global compliance. Our manufacturing units are highly automated, industry 4.0 ready and built to the highest food safety standards.

How many franchisees do you have in Pune? Also, is there any plan to increase the number of franchisees all over the country?

We have 35 Chitale Bandhu Franchisees in Pune and 40+ Chitale Xpress Franchisees across Maharashtra and Goa. We don’t wish to expand more of our physical retail. Our focus is on distribution and multi-channel retail.

What was your turnover in the financial year 2023-24 and what is your expectation in the coming financial year?

We have been growing at a steady rate for the last 7 years with a renewed focus on products only. We expect to continue this double-digit growth rate.

What will be your suggestions to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) about the food regulations and what is your view on the FSS Act?

The FSSAI and the Ministry of Health (State FDA) and Legal Meteorology departments need to combine when they make policies. Often their policies are not vetted internally and to follow one rule we have to break another department’s rule. If India wants to prioritise food exports, the departments need to work on ease of doing business as a genuine measure. I hope these are taken seriously as more time for business owners is wasted interpreting policy than doing business. Minimum Bureaucracy and Maximum Business Policy should be the priority that all government departments must own up to. Also, it is absurd to do food testing of products every six months for small or large businesses. Compliances must be managed as per the scale of business as smaller businesses suffer trying to comply as testing is not cheap.

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