Do you know consumption of two Kiwi fruits daily provides more fiber than a bowl of bran cereal? There is a plethora of nutritious and juicy fruits that are produced all over the world that are unique to every respective country, right from ‘Creamy Avocados’ to ‘Pulpy Plum.’ Every fruit contributes significantly to the wellbeing of the human body. Consumption of fruits replenishes the body and provides energy that can prevent certain illnesses.
In India we can find a wide variety of fruits, however it lacks the availability of the premium nutritious fruits that are produced outside India. This gap is filled by IG International, which is one of the largest importers of Fresh Fruits in India. It offers premium fruits that are freshly imported from various countries.
In existence for more than 50 years, IG has built a robust supply chain with a strong overseas procurement network and strategic sourcing on one side—and an extensive distribution network throughout India, on the other.
“We source our produce—premium club varieties and exotic fresh fruits, from reputed growers, cultivars, and marketers from across the world. With more than 50 varieties, we have one of the most extensive ranges of imported fruits that we offer to our Indian consumers. says Mr. Tarun Arora, Director of IG International Pvt. Ltd.
The company has the largest number of wholesale outlets in the imported fresh fruits industry in India. Its distribution network spans deep and wide across India’s geography with a presence in both organized as well as informal markets.
Mr. Arora’s visionary thought process, extraordinary experience and acumen has transformed the market of fresh produce globally. He advises, “Work hard for what you want because it will not come to you without a fight. You have to be strong and courageous and know that you can do anything you put your mind to.”
IG has made large infrastructural investments in cold chain logistics. Its cold storage and temperature-controlled warehousing are strategically located throughout India and is supported by an extensive fleet of refrigerated trucks that enables it to extend its reach to the farthest corners of the country. Apart from the physical presence, it also markets the products on e-commerce platforms.
To broaden the supply, the company has ventured into orchards and growers with its farms in India and the Czech Republic—producing licensed premium club variety Blueberries, Apples, Cherries, and other fruits.
IG is committed to environmental and sustainable growth that reflects in the long-term as well as day-to-day operational activities. It has integrated the policies and strategic planning with sustainable development practices.
“To cherish the fruit of a golden tomorrow, for us and our next generation, we are doing whatever it takes to minimize the environmental impact,” says Mr. Arora.
The Idea Behind its Presence
With the coming of digital markets and e-commerce, venturing into e-retail was the natural choice for expansion. And the pandemic gave a huge push. There has been a significant shift in the way people shop, going digital from the traditional method, and as perishable like vegetables, milk and groceries started getting available in e-shops, there was no looking back. The pandemic also altered people’s preferences making healthy food choices a more common practice. With IG’s delivery and last-mile fulfillment mechanism already in place, its products perfectly match the healthy trend, and found it very appropriate to venture into retailing.
The company offers the highest quality freshly imported fruits to its customers. It has more than 50 varieties of premium fruits from around the world in its portfolio which it makes available to its customers throughout India the entire year. It is also the pioneer in introducing newer variants of fresh fruits in India. These varieties are produced by genetics and crossbreeding. As and when such fruits are available in global markets, that are certified safe for human consumption, then the company brings them home for its Indian consumers.
When asked about the challenges faced by the company when entering the retail sector to which, Mr. Arora said – “The greatest challenge is our product itself, which is perishable. To preserve the freshness of the product, to keep the fruits fresh and safe for consumption from faraway distant orchards to the doorstep of our customer is a challenge we have to overcome every day.”
“With our extensive fleet of reefer trucks, we effectively manage our last-mile deliveries. Besides the other challenges like attracting new customers, retaining customers, and keeping up with their changing expectations, threat from competitors, etc., are always there unlike in any other business,” says Mr Arora.
The Pandemic Hope
The pandemic has had a significant impact on the lives and livelihoods of almost everyone, and it had its fair share in the business as well.
Operational challenges mounted due to restricted movement and disrupted supply lines during the pandemic. As the pandemic unfolded the focus continued to be on the company’s people’s health and safety, ensuring uninterrupted supplies of imported fruits, meeting the demand arising out of evolving consumer needs, caring for the communities in which it operates, and finally, protecting its business model.
There was a significant change in what consumers buy and where they shop — from online shopping to rising concern about health, hygiene, sanitation, and nutrition, it strives to meet these changing needs. It does so by launching innovations, shifting to newer ways of reaching consumers, and connecting with communities.
Furthermore, over decades of international trade of fresh produce made IG resilient and adaptive. It has to always live with the unpredictable nature of fluctuating demand for highly perishable products. So, the pandemic was just one more thing that required a determined and resolute response. Not the kind of crisis anyone expected, of course, but also not a situation that undermined the basic need to deliver food to market.
At IG, the ability to adapt, not just to endure sailed it through this crisis. It was quick to respond to the need for safety both for its employees and the customers as well. The company vaccinated its workers as soon as vaccines were made available to the corporates.
It made the working places safe by following the safety mandates as laid down by the authorities, gifting its regular customers with safety kits, and assuring them through regular communication that its outlets are safe places to visit. And finally, the relentless commitment and dedication of every member of the IG family helped the business overcome the many challenges of the past years.
Advice for the Young
When asked about the advice for young generation entrepreneurs who want to make a mark in the retail sector to which he said, “Retail is ever-expanding and there to stay. There is room for everyone. But you must have a clear business model to succeed. You may see many failures before you succeed.” Creating a sense of purpose for oneself along with working hard and smart is the essence according to Mr Arora.
Mr. Arora says “The organized fresh produce industry is nascent in India, compared to the West, or China, Singapore, etc. Our goal is to turn this challenge into an opportunity and become a household name, a brand.” The company wants everyone in India – be it a buyer, a seller, or a consumer to recall IG as the first name for imported fruits and the value it delivers.
“With the changes that are happening all around us, we have no choice but to participate in the process. For example, the way digitization and technology have gripped us all, any presence outside its ambit is unthinkable,” adds Mr Arora. For the company to be in the leading position, he thinks that they should be able to foresee the change before they are pushed into it.
In India, the retail sector is evolving every day. With growing awareness among consumers, rise in disposable incomes, changing behavior and lifestyles, consumers are becoming more demanding. The retailers need to respond to meet this new customer by being more innovative and by finding newer ways to sell.
The company is witnessing the integration of online and offline formats at the retailer’s end. Almost every retailer is adopting digital ways at a breathtaking pace and is investing in technology to improve the quality of services. Retailers are transforming merchandise, adopting new marketing techniques, changing presence and appeal to remain relevant for their customers. The company sees this evolution, this disruption, to open new opportunities and drive change in the sector.