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By TPCI | November 12, 2019

Delivering products that cover a huge range of items from the family of Indian traditional snacks including Chikki, Laddu and Namkeen, Charliee Chikki aims to serve the global palate with its guilt free portfolio, largely comprising Rajgira (Amaranth), peanuts, and sesame.

Established in 1992, Charliee Chikki has been a major player taking traditional Indian Chikki to the global platform. Today, the company has been successful in exporting this product to US, UK, Australia, UAE and Canada. And all this globe-trotting has only left the company hungry for more!

Talking to IndusFood, Shailesh Savla, Director, Charliee Chikki relates his inspiration behind backing Chikki as a business investment and the challenges he faced in the global market. Below are few excerpts from the interview:

IndusFood: What was the inspiration behind the brand when it was founded? How did the business launch and evolve in the initial years? What has been the entire growth story? 
Shailesh Savla: Chikki as a traditional Indian product and its placement in the global market was something, which had always concerned the makers of the brand at Charliee Chikki. Thus, the inspiration for brand when founded on December 2, 1992 was that Chikki was a seasonal product & hence the challenge was to have it manufactured & consumed round the year. Initially, it was difficult & over the years, with changes in consumption patterns, it has grown. We have grown consistently since last 10 years.   

IndusFood: What were the major challenges to growth and expansion and how did you meet them?
SS: The major challenge was to create a buzz around the product amongst the masses. You see, people generally perceive Chikki with a mindset of seasonal consumption. However, we managed and overcame this by placing the products at the retail & regular services by our sales officers. This has definitely ensured growth in demand for our products and success at large. Today, Charliee Chikki has widened the range of Chikki’s consumption not only in India but in the international markets as well, thus widening the entire range of consumption of the product. I am glad to say that Charliee Chikki is changing the way Chikki is perceived for consumption.

IndusFood: What transformational changes has the business undergone since its inception in terms of product portfolio/innovations, reach, brand equity, etc?
SS: We have evolved, as any other business would in this long span of around two decades. To mention, the major changes have been the enhanced quality, introduction of new products, packaging & service to retail stores. Also, we have followed the best practices in the manufacturing process; keeping ourselves updated with latest Government regulations required for domestic & international markets. Our major products have been Peanut Chikki/Brittle, Til (Sesame) Chikki/Brittle, Laddus & Namkeens.

IndusFood: How has the brand progressed on the international front? What are the key export markets you are targeting for your products and why (domestic and international)?
SS: At the international level, the brand is known in its category for its quality & service. Since we do private labels for international clients, our clientele is synonymous with the brand & they also know us as a manufacturer.

Over the years we have developed strong footprints in the key markets of US, Canada, UAE, UK & Australia and, in fact, all major countries having large chunks of Indian diaspora.

IndusFood: How do you see the growth in the food and agro processing industry from India? How is it expected to reflect on the exports front?
SS: We see a very positive growth for Indian food products. This will also have a positive impact on export front.

IndusFood: How do you plan to expand in the near future? Any new product launch planned or product innovation that you might want to share?
SS: We plan to focus on brand awareness in the international markets & making inroads in distribution network tie-ups overseas. We have recently made Thin Chikki/Brittles in different varieties. These are wafer-thin Chikkis & have received a really good response from clients. We would like to place them well in the export market.

IndusFood: Have you participated in IndusFood earlier? Please share your experience. What is your take on IndusFood launching Indusfood-Tech and Indusfood-Chem as brand extension? How will it help the industry?
SS: Yes, it was excellent. The launch of Indusfood-Tech and Indusfood-Chem is a good start, as these will give much required synergy to manufacturers to check & get newer & updated technologies. It will also give us insights as to where is the food industry progressing.