Director - International Sales
With consumers Internationally regularly looking for new products in terms of tastes, textures, and flavor profiles, innovation is the key for all major brands to sustain and grow in the market at present.
Particularly, innovation is the lifeline of export confectionary houses, since the preferred type of confectionaries varies according to the geographic regions due to the difference in the taste of consumers, economy, and regulatory norms. The inspirational success story of CeFA India, a Mumbai-based company which was conceptualized to be a 100 percent export-only brand, stands as a testimony to the heights an organization can reach when it centers innovation and quality as its mantra.
The springboard that helped CeFA to obtain an unyielding grip over the market is its obsession towards innovating recipes that enable it to achieve the highest possible shelf-life and maintain the freshness of the taste. However, it is the company's dedication towards achieving the most natural taste of the flavor that enabled it to carve its niche in the industry and grow exponentially on a world stage in a very short span of time.
The Pride Of India
CeFA takes great pride in the fact that all of its products are made up of 99 percent raw materials that are made in India by Indian manufacturers. The company has cemented its position as the alternative to many products that were imported and sold on an international level. "When we speak of the F&B industry as a whole, the general viewpoint of international consumers has always been that they trust Indian products/quality more than the ones which are imported from other countries. We have managed to research and develop alternatives for products imported from foreign countries, mainly China, Turkey and Pakistan" remarks Kunal Sheth, Director - International Sales, CeFA India. Due to its immense efforts in this front, the company has been 20 percent more cost-effective than its worldwide peers. "Our business thrives on quality, innovative flavors, packaging, and distributor schemes. Most of the business model revolves around making the best international products in India at a more competitive price point than the world peers," he further adds.
Adhering To Stringent Quality Practices
Being in exports, which is a highly-agile, competitive and innovative segment not only from players within the country but also from the entire world, CeFA has managed to dig its own space on the world markets. Noting that every country having a different Food and Drugs Department and Policy & Guidelines, CeFA has made its production processes very flexible and adheres to all the importing country norms, owing to its extremely strict quality control and inspection department.
Closely working with many experienced food technologists in India, the company has set a base standard for all of its inward raw materials. Whenever it receives an inward of any raw material, first a sample is taken out, tested in its factory to ensure whether it matches the standards set by CeFA, and only then is the vehicle unloaded in the warehouse, otherwise, the whole consignment is rejected. Not stopping there, the company conducts daily random checks at all stages of the production and packing processes that ascertain that the product matches the best of the standards and all FDA guidelines of the importing country.
Besides generating hourly reports, CeFA also tests its raw materials in private testing labs to match the results which it has received internally to ensure that no mistake is being made on the quality front. Finally, the company is also issued COA (Certificate of Analysis from its suppliers). These stringent practices explain how CeFA's raw material to real nutritional conversion ratio stands at an astounding 98.86 percent.
In 2020, CeFA has also formally started the process for a BRC certification (British Retail Consortium) which certifies the production and supply chain processes. BRC being the most difficult certificate to obtain due to its extremely strict norms, less than one percent of Indian confectionery brands have cleared this certification process. It is such a constant desire to raise the bar higher for itself with every project it executes that gives trust to its distributors and clients worldwide and reaffirms CeFA's position as the best confectionery partner they can have from India.
The crux of the brand's success is pinned on the fact that every CeFA product is highly customized in terms of flavor, recipe, branding, and packaging based on the geography and interests of the consumers in the country. The company works very closely with its distributors in every country and strives to make more local tastes and flavors which are appreciated in the local importing country. "When we make a new product or flavor, the only goal which we work towards is that the product should be on the same natural taste of the flavor/fruit. Meaning: a consumer should be enjoying a real strawberry taste when he eats, for example, its strawberry candy," explains Kunal. This sounds even more impressive considering that the company launches around 15 products each month on average, which is close to one new product every two days!
Relishing Mind-Boggling Growth
India is one of the world's topmost producers of Sugar, which is one of the major ingredients in any confectionery. Despite having everything it needs to dominate the confectionery market on paper, the Indian confectionery market share was falling prey
Tremendous credit to the company's strong focus on achieving the most natural taste and creating a very localized product as per the country, CeFA achieved a meteoric rise in just two years, whereby the company had way more demand than what it could manage or that it could have imagined. In 2019, the company decided to integrate backward and take the supply chain more in its control in order to be more competitive in price as well as more flexible to innovate and reach more markets. Thus, CeFA started its own factory with a candy manufacturing line and in just six months expanded to a lollipop manufacturing production line as well.
Krish Dave, Operations & Domestic Sales
Having established the brand's presence in 61 countries worldwide with a mind-boggling year-on-year growth rate of 113 percent, today CeFA's operational efficiency stands at 95 percent, which is in the top one percent in India. Nothing exemplifies its operational efficiency and success rate better than the fact that the company has shipped close to 33,60,00,000 pieces of its best-selling brand Tamarou, a tamarind candy (which has contributed to the revenue of $6 million) in a year to just one country. CeFA boasts of having a highly agile packaging facility, where it packs around 23,00,000 pieces of confectionery (14,00,000 candies in twist wrap, 6,00,000 on a pillow pack machine and 3,00,000 lollipops) per day! Interestingly, it has been one of the highest confectionery exporters from India to the Ivory Coast and is accounted for 72 percent of the total Indian confectionery imports to an entire country. The company also has a history of working with Forbes featured big corporates like METL in Tanzania.
Manish Sheth, Director
CeFA strongly believes in hiring the best and the most talented young individuals and giving them a platform to perform. The company has not only onboarded some of the biggest food technologists of India on its consulting board but also regularly educates its internal team and upskills them on a daily basis. "We consciously tend to improve on the continuous market and internal feedback which has enabled us to spread our wings over a wide span of markets in record times," remarks Kunal. Taking note of such innovative spirit, CeFA was awarded the `Most Innovative Product of the Year 2018' in Dubai at an exhibition that mainly tracks the sweet industry worldwide.
Mohamed Kaik, International Sales Director - West Africa
The Sky Is The Limit
Having marked its eminence on a global scale, today CeFA's overall group revenues stand at $33 million with growth rate of 79.39 percent. Growing further, the company has mapped out a ten-year plan with two major projects: putting up India's largest automated chocolate manufacturing line and becoming the `First Indian Confectionery Company' to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company has been undertaking many structural changes since 2017 to achieve these goals.
Tremendous credit to the company's strong focus on achieving the most natural taste and creating a very localized product as per the country, cefa achieved a meteoric rise in just two years, whereby the company had way more demand than what it could manage or that it could have imagined
If the strategy succeeds, CeFA may emerge as the biggest success story ever to rise out of India.
Kunal Sheth, Director International Sales
Kunal joined his family managed business at the age of 17 as a trainee under the guidance of his father Manish and also has worked with HSBC Bank, LG in his learning period. Having graduated with a Masters in Family Managed Business from S.P Jain school of global management, he was initially working in the textiles division. Creating new and innovative products being his core strength, he became the head of the FMCG division mainly handling International Sales.
Manish Sheth, Director
Manish started this venture in 1993 as a trading unit and over the years he has turned it into a multiproduct business covering more than seven product categories ranging from textiles, agro commodities, plastics to confectionery. His prowess in delivering the best quality products at the lowest possible price and on time has enabled him to earn immense success and trust with international clients and governments. Over the years he has prepared the platform for CeFA to sky rocket in such a short matter of time. With his knowledge and expertise it is impossible to compete against the price points offered by him. He is also known as the person who sets the "price" for a product in the market for the market.
Krish Dave, Operations & Domestic Sales
Krish is a young talented professional, who handles operations at the factory and domestic & international sales. Having worked in big corporates, he excellently handles customers as well as the human resources. Has brillant grip over organisational strategy planning and maximizes human resource capabilities.
Mohamed Kaik, International Sales Director - West Africa
Having graduated from a leading ivy league business school in the U.S, Mohammed (originally from Lebanon) handles International Sales and Distribution for CeFA. His close proximity to governments in 11 countries of Africa gives CeFA an edge over all its competitors. Leading a team of 30 people in seven countries, Mohamed is closely associated with CeFA's journey and shares the same vision.
Mumbai (headquarter), Dubai , Honk kong , Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Russia, Senegal, Morocco (Sales office)
CeFA In Spotlight
• Group Revenue stands at 33,000,000$ with a growth rate of 79.39 percent.
• Aims to be `First Indian Confectionery Company' to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
• Having established the brand's presence in 61 countries worldwide with a mind-boggling year-on-year growth rate of 113 percent, today CeFA's operational efficiency stands at 95 percent, which is in the top one percent in India.
• Launches 15 new products per month, that equals to a new product every 2 days!
• Packs around 23,00,000 pieces of confectionery (14,00,000 candies in twist wrap, 6,00,000 on a pillow pack machine and 3,00,000 lollipops) per day.
• Awarded the `Most Innovative Product of the Year 2018' in Dubai at an exhibition that mainly tracks the sweet industry worldwide.