Reimagining FMCG in a changing India
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HUL Chairman & Managing Director's speech at the 86th AGM
Mr Sanjiv Mehta, Chairman and Managing Director, Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), while addressing shareholders at the Company’s 86th Annual General Meeting held in Mumbai today, spoke about how HUL has created a full-fledged end-to-end digital transformation programme for the business that will redefine the ways of working going forward.
In his speech titled ‘Reimagining FMCG in a changing India,’ Mr Mehta, said the Company has set up a Digital Council – comprising of a cross- functional team of leaders, who are designing and landing the agenda of ‘Reimagining HUL.’ Currently, over 80 experiments are underway in the business to accelerate HUL’s journey on digital transformation.
Over the next decade or so, the country will have a large cohort of ‘Generation Z’ consumers who would have grown up in an India with ubiquitous internet, smartphones, digital media and digital consumption platforms. As they start earning and consuming, they will actively use technology-enabled consumption models, and have a big influence on the consumption behaviour of their households.
Elaborating on the company’s digital transformation, Mr Mehta said, “With the world changing at a furious pace, HUL is continually adapting to remain future-fit. The Company will continue to leverage Unilever’s global knowledge and HUL’s deep local understanding to serve Indian consumers better – be it through path-breaking innovations or expertise in new channels.”
The Evolving FMCG Landscape
On India’s rising prospects, Mr Mehta envisioned a scenario wherein, if India can bend the growth curve and deliver a consistent growth rate of 9% and above, the country could transform itself to a US $10 trillion economy by 2032, and catapult itself into the upper echelons of middle-income countries.
On the Fast Moving Consumer Goods sector, Mr Mehta said the economic growth and technological changes provide an exciting future for the industry. He said, “Despite being one of the fastest growing markets globally for FMCG products in recent times, the per capita FMCG consumption spend in India is amongst the lowest in the world, giving the sector a long runway for growth. Key factors like rising affluence, changing family structures, growth of emerging cities and a young working population will positively impact the growth of the FMCG industry.”
Driving Purpose Into Our Brands
HUL has always followed the credo of ‘What is good for India is good for HUL’ – the hallmark of the company’s growth journey over the past 80 years. With more than nine out of 10 Indian households, using one or more of the Company’s products, the biggest impact HUL can have on society is through its purpose-driven brands.
Mr Mehta explained, “Purpose is what makes a brand stand out. With growing awareness and concern for the planet as well as societal issues, consumers are increasingly demanding brands that deliver more than just the functional benefit. They look for brands that have a higher purpose that resonates with them.”
Reshaping Human Capital
The next few years will see the very nature of employment in the country transform. As a result, majority of the jobs we see today will undergo significant change thanks to the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms. To equip our people with future-skills, we have developed a culture of ‘always-on learning’ – shifting focus from classroom training to creative forms of learning like immersions, mentoring, peer to peer and e-learning.
Mr Mehta said, “Re-skilling of our workforce will become a national priority. Machines will augment human cognition and it will be imperative for companies to optimally leverage human + machine at the same time.”
HUL In The New World
Companies of the future will need to build an organisation that fosters agility, empowerment and connectivity. Mr Mehta says, “At HUL, we are creating a culture that embraces diversity, inclusiveness, founder’s mindset and experimentation.
We have a five-pronged strategy to continue to thrive – drive purpose into our brands and enhance societal impact, build a future-fit organisation, nurture talent in the new age, innovate for the future, and reimagine the business across the value chain by leveraging data and technology.” Mr Mehta concluded his speech reiterating the Company’s focus on reimagining itself from the lens of portfolio, organisation, capabilities and culture. “We are clear that we do not want to simply follow, we will lead the change. Destiny beckons India and Hindustan Unilever!”
About Hindustan Unilever Limited
Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is India's largest Fast Moving Consumer Goods company with a heritage of over 85 years in India. On any given day, nine out of ten Indian households use our products to feel good, look good and get more out of life – giving us a unique opportunity to build a brighter future. For more information visit