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Introduction:

Earth360 Eco-Ventures ltd is a privately owned social enterprise, which was started by Mr M.N Dinesh Kumar 22 months ago to process millet grains into readily edible rice form. The organisation encourages the farmers in the surrounding villages to grow different kinds of millets which are then procured at a fair market price and processed in their factory to produce millet rice. The various millet rice are then packaged and sold to customers. The vision and mission statement as stated in the organisations official website www.earth360.in Vision: A vibrant, joyful rural community, with rich and diverse Natural resources, comprising of good local leadership which is aware of the importance of protecting and managing their natural resources while supporting livelihoods depending on these resources in a sustainable and equitable manner with the involvement of all the communities. Mission: To work with the farmers and rural communities to produce, promote Millets and other health foods. Provide them with a good and consistent market support which ensures the right value to their produce. Run enterprises for the same based on the ecological principles of sustainability. Yet we value economic viability ensuring the product or services of highest quality and right value to the customers or stake holders in the enterprise. We nurture leadership from the community to play an active role in local market and in turn strengthen the local economy which makes the farming a viable option. The company also undertakes activities to educate the public on the benefits of consuming millets instead of paddy rice and wheat. Activities include distributing pamphlets, brochures, production and marketing of millets based snacks and sweets.Earth360 has been represented by Mr M.N Dinesh in various conferences and symposiums. The organisation and Mr Dineshs work has garnered a lot of media attention recently which is of supreme importance for a start-up. This report is based on our observation of the various activities in the organisation during the period 25 Nov 2011 to 20 Dec 2011.

Market Analysis:
Earth360 as on the date of writing this report has the following kinds of customers Individual customers Purchase in person from the factory. Word of mouth plays a major role in attracting these customers. Many customers also order after perusing the companys website. These customers can be divided into High income HH DH Middle income HM DM

Health conscious
Diabetics & patients

Farmers Local farmers who pay the company to process their grain for a small fee. Similar to rice mills. However the company incentivizes these very same farmers to cultivate millets by lending grain for sowing. The company procures grain from these farmers.

Resellers Shopkeepers place bulk orders from the company and resell them to end users. This segment is the cash cow for the company. These resellers are based in Chennai, Bangalore and other urban areas. The company has not yet gained momentum in the local markets in the surrounding area.

Eateries And Institutions the company presently is in talks with institutions like messes, hotels and a prominent school. This segment seems to be very promising

Product, Place, Price and Promotion observations and suggestions Products: As on date the company only offers millet rice, Rava and flour. The demand for these products is responsible for cash in-flow into the company. The products are sold loose and do not have standard packaging nor does the company have standardised SKUs. Our observation is that the company should expand its product portfolio to include products such as Health Mixes, Millet drink powders and Dosa or Idli batter in branded packages.

Brands for flour, health mixes and rice are an immediate necessity as brand loyalty helps in retaining customers. Failing to do so might result in sales being usurped by emerging rivals. It is also our strong recommendation that the company should limit selling of processed snacks and sweets for advertisement alone and not enter the processed foods segment. Indirect competition from other products in an already saturated market will lead to thin margins and also the considerable overheads incurred for labour and storage may not be worthwhile. Consistency of quality is a must since repeat customers tend to expect a certain level and degree of quality based on past experience and failing to deliver in this regard might prove costly. Place: Health sector: The maximum potential for growth lies in the health sector. Since the customers in this sector are price inelastic, the company can market premium products in attractive packages with high mark up. Grocery stores: The company should aim to place its rice and flour mixes on grocery stores shelves as soon as possible. Visibility is an important decider in this market and it is vital to test the waters by placing packaged products in the local grocers. Price: The cost of production of millet rice is substantially higher than paddy rice. Hence, the pricing cannot compete with paddy rice. However, small packets can be sold to supplement rice. Initially to gain traction in the local market the smaller packets must give the seller more margins. The likelihood of consumers buying large packages will be less in the beginning. Therefore good margins in the small packets will serve as incentive for the seller to push the products.

Promotion: Typically product promotions fall under two categories (i) Above the line and (ii) Below the line. Above the line refers to mass media like TV, radio and newspapers and product launch events. Below the line refers to incentives given to resellers, freebies, melas and fairs. Typically for a start-up such as in this case, it makes more sense to try BTL activities since ATL needs a lot of money and resources. That being said, for Earth 360 melas are very necessary since the local market is almost non-existent. Organising a meeting with the local shopkeepers to explain to them the benefits of millets will help them convert customers, which in turn will result in more business for the company.