India-based ITC plans to distribute its packaged food and personal care products through various paan shops scattered across India, in a move to expand its brand footprint.

‘Paan’ shops are small shanties or kiosks in India, which basically sell variations of betel leaf filled with other ingredients, along with other goods.

ITC has been selling cigarettes for a long time through, what is known in industry circles as ‘paan-plus channel,’ and has forged close ties with them, reports Economic

According to a company spokesman, these outlets are already contributing significantly to some of the product categories.

The company is currently sprucing up the outlets and training the paanwallahs to sell soaps, biscuits and noodles.

ITC plans to sell Sunfeast biscuits, Yippee instant noodles, Vivel soaps, Mangaldeep agarbattis, Dark Fantasy Choco Fills and Choco Meltz biscuits, Delishus cookies and Engage deodorants.

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ITC’s divisional chief executive in charge of FMCG trade marketing and distribution Sanjiv Puri said, “Several of the paan-plus shops in prime localities in cities have their own dedicated clientele and sell an assortment of consumer products.”

“Consumers can top up their requirement from such outlets the way neighbourhood convenience stores serve the purpose in the West,” Puri added.

The strategy by ITC is in direct contrast with its competitors, which mostly sell confectionery, snacks and sachets of shampoos and detergents.

ITC has already trained over 10 lakh paan-plus outlets to sell its packaged food, personal care and stationery products. This is almost half the number of stores that ITC reaches directly with its non-cigarette FMCG products.

ITC’s FMCG products are sold in more than 60 lakh outlets across the country.