` Q&A with Rajneesh Bhasin, Borges Group - Olive Oil Times

Q&A with Rajneesh Bhasin, Borges Group

Feb. 13, 2011
Gita Narrayani

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Borges, one of the renowned olive oil pro­duc­ers and exporters from Spain, has recently entered the Indian mar­ket. Initially rolled out in the major met­ro­pol­i­tan regions, the com­pany plans to extend its dis­tri­b­u­tion net­work to 36 Indian cities and towns in 2011. The Borges Group has a pres­ence in over 100 coun­tries and has long-term plans for India, includ­ing a foray into olive cul­ti­va­tion. In an Interview with Gita Narrayani of Olive Oil Times, Dr. Rajneesh Bhasin, Managing Director of Borges, India talks about the prod­ucts and the ways to pop­u­lar­ize this healthy cook­ing medium in the huge Indian mar­ket.

GN: What were the rea­sons behind the selec­tion of India as a mar­ket for the prod­ucts of Borges, espe­cially olive oil?

Bhasin: Indians have turned extremely health con­scious in their food habits in recent times and are open to the idea of explor­ing new tastes and fla­vors. Changing lifestyles too have led to grow­ing aware­ness about health, nutri­tion and the need to start eat­ing and liv­ing healthy. The Indian con­sumer has evolved a lot and she is aware of the global trends and aspires to adopt brands that pro­vide the right value. Active Health’ is on the top of her agenda. She is extremely con­scious of the lifestyle-related dis­eases that are affect­ing our lives. She is increas­ingly con­cerned about the health of fam­ily mem­bers and con­tin­u­ously looks for changes/ improve­ments that can make them healthy.

Borges stands for pro­vid­ing the con­sumers with the ben­e­fits of diet based on val­ues of Mediterranean life across the globe and we aim to do that in India as well. Hence, Borges has set up a 100% sub­sidiary in India which is a first for a Mediterranean food spe­cial­ist – this itself sig­ni­fies the pri­or­ity that we accord to India as a mar­ket.

GN: Borges Extra Light Olive Oil has been spe­cially designed for the Indian con­sumer” with its light fla­vor & aroma; has it proved pop­u­lar in your test mar­ket?

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Bhasin: Borges has launched an Extra Light olive oil vari­ant that is suit­able for the Indian way of cook­ing. This vari­ant of olive oil was spe­cially intro­duced for con­sumers who want the good­ness of olive oil, but do not want the strong aroma and fla­vor of the oil to inter­fere with the spices and condi­ments used here. I am glad that the con­sumers have accepted the con­cept and the response to the oil has been encour­ag­ing.

GN: There is a per­cep­tion that olive oil is not suit­able for the dif­fer­ent types of Indian cui­sine, due to its fla­vor. What is Borges India doing to dis­pel this wrong notion?

Bhasin: It is very crit­i­cal to make olive oil and its vari­ants rel­e­vant to the daily lives of the Indian con­sumer. We are address­ing this through effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion. In the ini­tial stage, we have iden­ti­fied rel­e­vant usage occa­sions for each one of the Borges olive oil vari­ants which form an inte­gral part of the brand com­mu­ni­ca­tion. We under­stand the need to dis­pel myths related to the use of this won­der prod­uct and help under­stand the immense ben­e­fits and are pre­pared to take up this chal­lenge.

GN: Is Borges Extra Light Olive Oil sim­i­lar in any way to olive pomace oil that some com­pa­nies are mar­ket­ing here as a suit­able medium for Indian cook­ing?

Bhasin: Borges Extra Light Olive Oil is a blend of refined olive oil with extra vir­gin olive oil. This vari­ant has a very mild taste and is best suited for Indian cook­ing, as it ensures that the dish retains its orig­i­nal taste. This olive oil vari­ant is specif­i­cally launched for the Indian mar­ket to offer con­sumers the good­ness of olive oil with­out the pun­gent taste.

Borges Extra Light olive oil is not sim­i­lar to pomace olive oil as there is a dif­fer­ence in the way the two vari­ants are extracted. Pomace is that part of the olive (skins, pulp, seeds, and stems) that remains after all the oil and water in it has been removed by pres­sur­ing or cen­trifug­ing processes. Pomace oil is obtained by apply­ing heat, sol­vents, or hot water to the pomace. On the other hand, Borges Extra Light olive oil is obtained by refin­ing the olive oil (which is obtained from press­ing the olive fruit but not suit­able for direct con­sump­tion) and then blend­ing it with extra vir­gin olive oil. Due to this dif­fer­ence glob­ally and in India as well, olive oil is priced at 70 – 80% pre­mium over pomace olive oil.

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