The realm of the rich Chitale Bandhu legacy dates back to 1950s, when the visionary Late. Shri Bhaskar Ganesh Chitale started a meek milk distribution business at Bhilawadi in Sangli District, the beginning of the first ever entrepreneurial dairying revolution in India. This worthy lineage was ably carried forward by his sons Bhausaheb, Rajabhau, Nanasaheb and Kakasaheb Chitale, who got affiliated with the business upon completion of their education.
The beginning of the 1950s was also marked by yet another significant milestone: the establishment of Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale by Raghunath Chitale, affectionately known as Bhausaheb. In his younger brother Rajabhau (the Late Narsinha Chitale), he found an able ally to take the brand from the nascent stages to greater glory. In the meanwhile, Nanasaheb and Kakasaheb, the second generation Chitale stalwarts, played the role of formidable anchors by deciding to settle in Bhilawadi to look after the dairy business. The responsibility of the fledging milk retailing network in Pune was shouldered by Bhausaheb and Rajabhau.
The third generation members of the family – Madhav, Shrikrishna, Govind, Shripad, Vishwas, Anant, Girish, Makarand – carried the torch forth by introducing modern, innovative ideas to keep the Chitale brand paces ahead of the competition in the new millennia. Kedar and Indraneel, the family’s young scions, are now at the helm of the Group’s activities, being guided by the experience and wisdom of the family veterans.
Chitale, a household name in Pune & cities across Maharashtra, well-regarded for its honesty, integrity and unparalleled service is a business conglomerate with a 80 year legacy in quality & excellence. It comprises of established companies catering to diverse industry verticals. Having carved a niche for itself in the dairy industry segment, the group has now established an unquestionable presence in the sweets, agro and food processing industries.
The Chitale Group is renowned for its irresistible range of mithais, snacks & milk products that meet international quality standards. Based on the current market scenario and the growing inclination towards ready food mixes – a trend driven by time limitations arising out of hectic schedules and changing lifestyles, the Group recently decided to foray into instant food mixes market.
Chitale Foods is a manufacturer of range of ‘instant food mixes’, comprising of Gulab Jamun, Idli, Medu Vada, Khaman and Jalebi. In a very short span, the company’s products have carved a niche in the hearts and minds of foodies all over the world. The instant food mixes have been widely appreciated for their consistent quality by consumers and culinary experts alike.
Having well-introduced the Chitale Bandhu to our readers, agro and food processing times happened to interview the family’s young icon-Indraneel Chitale.
Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale, undoubtedly a well-known name in Maharashtra, kindly narrate your journey till this position as of today.
Chitale Bandhu is part of Chitale Group. Chitale Group was established in 1939 with the vertical Chitale Dairy by late Shri. B.G.Chitale . In the year 1950, we diversified the dairy business into a new vertical which manufactured Indian sweets and snacks and went by the name Chitale Bandhu. It was established by two brothers, Raghunath and Narsinha Chitale. Their two younger brothers Parshuram and Dattatrey overlook the dairy operations. Over the span of 80 years, and now an active 4th generation, Chitale Group has diversified into dairy, sweets and snacks, instant mixes (Chitale Foods) and beverages and fruits (Chitale agro), digitals and genetics (Chitale Genus).
How will you rate the success secret for the status that you hold today? Whom will you attribute the credit to?
The success can be solely attributed to the firm emphasis on providing quality. This effort has led to us successfully doing backward integrations and adopting technologies at the right time leading to good scale and excellent quality assurance initiatives.
Chitale has businesses in various fields of food industry like Chitale Dairy, Sweets & Namkeen, Dairy Products, Pulp Puree, Instant Food etc…, which section of your variety is the fasted moving category and why ?
Currently the dairy sector is witnessing a turbulent times due to the lack of clear policies on various factors like packaging and seasonal variations. The instant mixes business, the sweets and snacks business are the fastest growing businesses for us.
What have you to say about the innovative approach as adopted in production of the products and speedy need of supply chain?
Scaling up is not possible without the adoption of modern production techniques and automation. The advent of modern trade and online retail markets has led to an exponential growth in the sector of packaged products and matching those long shelf lives is possible only due to efficient usage of technology and a very tight and lean supply chain.
How has online sales helped you to gain momentum in upward growth of your business? How will you rate the response of products that you get from these online apps?
Due to online apps, we are reaching to the locations which so far we could not physically cater to. We have shipped orders to countries like Azerbaijan thanks to the same. Online market place and ordering apps have led to an improved convenience for our customers to order. There are still some grey areas in terms of timely delivery and theft of packages during delivery which need to be addressed better. But online market place is a very important and growing sector for us.
In lieu of plastic ban, how has it affected your company and overall sale? What in your view will be the best solution for it?
Undoubtedly plastic ban is necessary for the future to control maximum pollution to save the planet. But the implementation of the same was immature and in a haphazard manner. A methodical working plan, migration from one platform to other, creation of vendors for the same, to have viable supply chain: it all takes time and should have been done in a phased manner. The lack of clarity on the policy itself has created trouble for clean operators too.
Practically in home businesses, young generation join the trend. What innovation generally does this next gen like to bring about? How well their ideas can be implemented in food industry?
To join family business by nextgen is a gradual process. Young generation add a new dimension to the business – be it view point, policies or market outlook. It is important they are encouraged and directed well by the generation before so that the interest and handover from one generation to other happens successfully.
Tell us something on export of your products. Which products and to which countries are the products exported?
We are exporting to all major countries and continents globally like we are currently exporting our range of products to countries across the European Union, USA, South East Asia and Australia. Exports still form a limited percentage of our total sales as export business for manufacturers like us caters only to the Indian Diasporas settled abroad. Unless we make products which are universally appealing and sold in global supermarket chains, exports business as a component will not grow beyond a certain value.
Chitale Digitals offers customized ERP solutions about dairy automation and herd management. Please elaborate to give us some vision of it.
We are a farm to fork organization. Our scope of operations covers aspects from managing cattle at our satellite farms and farmers to the point where consumer eats out products. This entire chain needs to be mapped and traceable for us to effectively control quality and give best product to our consumers. For the same, an elaborate big data driven ERP system was developed by us in house covering this entire lifecycle of our product. This helps us streamline our operations and put great controls on all steps in our process.
Adding to the above citation, Chitale Bandhu has six manufacturing units work in close dovetail to bring to its consumers a variety of ever-popular Chitale mithai, namkeen, and snacks. Of these, the unit located at Ranje Shivapur near Pune has two automated manufacturing lines specifically devoted to the manufacture and export of ‘Bakarwadi’, the Maharashtrian snack item which is known the world over for its unique taste and quality. Sweets like Gulabjamuns, Pedhas and Rasgullas are also manufactured here, on hi-tech machines imported from Japan. All Chitale products are manufactured with a ‘minimal manual intervention’ policy, to retain consistency in quality and hygiene.