IG International Pvt Ltd: The Trusted Fresh Produce Provider

IG International
Tarun Arora, Director, IG International Pvt Ltd

What started off as a passion to deliver fresh fruits to customers by some eager entrepreneurs, expanded to a much larger scale as the government eased the tax regulation on imports in India. Taking advantage of the tax regulation, the company in focus, IG International Pvt Ltd began exporting and importing fresh fruits. Today it is a giant cold storage conglomerate in trading of fresh produce.

While lot of hard work and perseverance went into building this gigantic business, equal amount of it goes into maintaining consistency and this has been no cakewalk for the entrepreneurs. But with sheer will and ardent desire to deliver the best always have helped them set a benchmark.

Motivation Behind the Success

Fresh produce and Cold Chain go hand-in-hand. IG International Pvt Ltd is a leader in the fresh produce industry and the credit of it goes to its strong cold chain infrastructure that IGIPL has been able to retain its position of the leader over the past two decades.

“IGIPL by far has the largest cold chain network in India and has been continuously investing in upgrading and bringing best cold chain technologies to the country. It is extremely vital to have a strong cold chain when it comes to perishables,” informed Director of IGIPL, Tarun Arora.

The first cold storage project was executed in 2017 and since then IG has established more than 15 facilities across the country. IGIPL also operates a fleet of more than 200 trucks.

A Century of Standing Upright

IG International is one of the largest importers of fresh fruit in India for the past 50 years. This year, it is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

“Over the past 50 years, we have built global sourcing infrastructure with strong associations and partnerships with top fruit growers of the world. In India, we have the largest distribution and wholesale network of imported fresh fruits. We have our own cold storages across different cities and a fleet of Reefer Trucks for efficient handling and transportation of fresh fruits in a temperature-controlled environment,” Arora added.

IG International is a group of 14 companies in diversified trades. Its deep understanding of consumers, a strong portfolio of brands and distinctive capabilities across the value chain have enabled it to deliver broad-based superior performance across all its businesses.

“We have a strong focus on infrastructural development for procuring, handling and storing of fresh fruit. Our dedicated team of highly experienced professionals work closely with our key partners to create competitive advantage for the business,” Arora shared.

Products, Services and Logistics

IG International is India’s largest importer of fresh fruits since the last 50 years. The company sources a large assortment of fruits like apples, pears, kiwis, plums, grapes, avocados, cherries, blueberries etc including the club varieties from South Africa, South America, USA, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

Beyond imports – other activities in IGIPL’s portfolio include temperature-controlled warehousing and third-party logistics. It has facilities in Amravati, Theog, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai.

“We have a fleet of around 100 reefer trucks and trailers, with each trailer comprising 40 reefer containers. We move around 40,000 MT of fresh fruit annually in India,” Arora informed.

The Unique Selling Proposition

Customers value proposition and brand connect. In India, consumers have a penchant for sweet fruits and IG always brings the best fruit in the world to Indian consumers… sweet, fresh, nutritious.

“This is possible because we have excellent equity with all top fruit growers of the world because of which we are able to source the best at the best prices. It is also because we have in-house cold chain logistics infrastructure with our own cold storages and fleet of refrigerated trucks,” Arora shared.

Challenges in the Cold Storage Sector

Arora lists four major challenges faced by the cold storage sector –

  1. Time Management and Compliance

Efficiency and product control are high priorities for cold storage facility managers. They must use time-tested processes as well as implement new industrial equipment that makes their business run more smoothly and, ultimately, more profitably. One must constantly look for systems and solutions that reduce waste, eliminate unnecessary cost and improve workers’ safety. The fundamental goal is to prevent losing food products and profit.

  1. Protecting Food Products

If you are in the cold chain industry, you know different products require unique temperatures to keep from spoiling. You wi’ll need to regulate and maintain both humidity and temperature in your warehouse to extend the life of your products as much as possible. It can be challenging and risky.

  1. Labelling of Racks and Individual Products

You probably already know how crucial barcode labels are. They create the link between each physical product in your inventory and your computer systems that monitor receiving, storage, retrieval and shipments. A single forgotten or lost label could lead to an unsafe or entirely ruined shipment.

  1. Requirements for Accurate Product Tracing

At all times, you need to have accurate location information about the products that move through your warehouse, so you can determine affected products in situations with sudden or unexpected temperature changes. Without exact traceability, it would be impossible to locate these products. Fresh produce and similar perishable products require even more management and control over external factors like humidity and carbon dioxide.

Criteria to Start a Cold Storage

For aspiring entrepreneurs, Arora, highlights certain criteria to be followed to start a cold storage:

  1. Business Plan

To start a cold storage business, one needs to create a detailed business plan that should contain all the business-related information, details regarding products and services to be used and employees’ details with full name and address.

  1. Finalizing Location

Location plays a vital role in any business. For cold storage businesses, it should be kept as close as possible to the farms or consumer centres.

  1. Basic Design and Requirements of Cold Storage Unit

A basic design should be created of the cold storage unit. A good plan shows direction for successful execution of the cold storage unit.

  1. Equipment Selection

During summers as the heat is immense, equipment to be used should be cautiously selected and installed to manage heavy loads and power cuts. The following factors should be considered before finalizing on equipment for cold storage, such as equipment’s age, and light, fan and product load, heat produced from stored products, ceiling, wall, floor, etc.

  1. Maintenance and Cleaning

Maintenance of cold storage plant also holds equal importance and temperature, humidity level, and preserved produce should be checked regularly. Timely servicing or cleaning of containers, trays and storage bins is also necessary.

  1. Promotion and Target Audience

The success of a cold storage business relies on the effective implementation of marketing strategies and promotional and advertising campaigns. In the initial, as well as the later stages of business, an entrepreneur should target various market segments, including traders, wholesalers, marketers, promoters, retail markets, and warehouse companies, supermarkets in rural and urban areas. For further increase in sales and profit, business owners can approach retailers, business growers, producers, distributors, exporters, etc.

  1. Arranging Funds

Arranging finance is one of the most difficult tasks, as cold storage business requires substantial capital investment. Managing total investment for business from the hard-earned savings is not a viable option, neither is it recommended as savings are used to meet urgent financial requirements or cash crunch situations.

Surviving the Pandemic

Like all other sectors, our industry also faced challenges during the pandemic. “We were a bit lucky to survive by not only being in the fresh produce Industry but also with the infrastructure and the efficient cold chain network that we possess,” said Arora.

In the Future

IG is at the forefront of digital ecosystem that is backwardly integrated for last-mile online order fulfilment and delivery in metros and tier-2 and tier-3 towns across India. IG’s strategy is to build on its reach to its customers across India through this “Phygital” route.

“We are working on enhancing the width of our physical network so that we are able to cater to a larger number of wholesalers and retailers in tier-2 towns through our wholesale outlets. Our strategy is to promote the category of Imported Fruits across all consumer segments,” Arora signs off.

Related Posts