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December 2015, Issue"Borosil - Moving from Occasion to Everyday Brand"

Shreevar KherukaManaging Director Borosil Glass Works Limited

Borosil Glass Works Ltd. is the market leader for microwavable kitchenware in India. Borosil exports their glassware products across the globe starting from North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Middle East. Borosil team is dedicated to ensuring that each product lives up to the Borosil standards of quality, performance and dependability. Shreevar Kheruka, Managing Director, Borosil Glass Works Limited discuss the company's future plan and strategy with Ekta Bhargava.

Tell me about the Borosil Products and its future plans to cater to other markets?

Borosil has been in India for the last 53 years. The company started with Glassware, as the expertise. The name is Borosil Glasshouse Ltd., and we make special kind of glass called Borosilicate. This glass has three special properties:

  • It does not expand or contract when it is heated or cooled. You can take it out of the freezer and directly place it in the microwave and it will not break.
  • It has very low leaching, which means it does not release the raw-materials like for example when you heat plastic it expands out and looses some of its key parts and hence gets discoloured with usage. This does not however happen with our glass, so the purity of the food is maintained.
  • It is hard glass. It has raw-materials which are very expensive and makes the glass very hard. So it is not easily breakable.

We have a wide distribution channel and our main emphasis has always been on quality. Most shopkeepers will suggest Borosil because they don't get any complaints from the buyer.

Now we are planning to be closer to our customers irrespective of the material. We want to make and sell products which go into the kitchen and don't have to be glass. We have already launched two or three products, one is dinner sets made of melamine which are very beautifully designed. The second range is the kitchen appliances like mixer-grinder, juicer, toaster, hand-blender and so on. The third range that we have launched is glass tumblers, drinking glasses and storage products with lids. We know that plastic is not healthy and there are lot of chemicals used in plastic and in the long run it is very bad so glass is a very neutral product, there is no discolouration and it is very pure to store food. So we have these three new ranges that we have launched and the objective is how to be in that market which is daily-use market, everyday people should use our products. Now microwave/oven is not used daily by people, it is used may be once in a week or only on special occasions, but we want to move our brand from an occasional brand to a daily use brand, storage is a daily need, appliance is a daily need, so that is our idea for future.

Borosil is generally associated with glassware, how are you going to change the mindset of the people?

In the coming year we are going to do a marketing campaign which will talk about how Borosil is not just a glass company but a kitchen product company. Definitely change of mind set is not easy it requires lot of investment, communication to the customers and we are ready to do that.

Are you targeting both commercial and domestic kitchen for your products?

Right now mainly domestic kitchen, but some products like melamine, we are selling in commercial. At the moment the focus is mainly on domestic, but there are some products in our range that are interesting for commercial. Maybe once we increase the portfolio of the products, we will then start separate marketing for commercial.

Lot of melamine products are available in the market. What is the USP of Borosil?

We have 100% melamine products, there is no urea in the melamine, because, as I said, our company focuses on quality so we will never give our customers a second grade product, infact we will never launch a low quality product in the market and that is a very clear mandate for the company. When we put the Borosil name on something it must live upto a certain standard of quality which our customers expect from us.

Do you have any plan of increasing the range of appliances?

Yes, we have increased the range substantially, now we have atleast 10 to 11 appliances.

Are you giving special/unique proposition in the Borosil brand?

Absolutely yes, we have spoken to many customers to know their problems/ frustrations with the current appliances that they use. According to the feedback, we launched our products. For example we have used Ninja Blades which is stainless steel- SS304 blade which is expensive but long lasting for mixer-grinders while other companies use SS302. This ensures that the appliance is lasting for a longer period of time. You can grind turmeric also in our grinder. In case of toasters you get a chord which is only two feet long but we give a longer chord. So it may not improve the quality of the toast but you can put the appliance anywhere you like. So these are small things that we have done looking at customers' requirements apart from Borosil quality.

Trend of cooking on the dining table is emerging, are you planning to come up with appliances for that?

We already have induction cooker. There are lot of things to do and we are taking one step at a time, so whatever range we have we are going to continue building it based on the trend.

Borosil glass products are thicker and heavier than other similar products. Why?

It is a bit heavy because the glass is dense hence heavier and not thicker. The glass density is higher than the other regular glass which makes it stronger. Also some of the raw-material that we use in making the glass are different than the regular ones and this is what makes it expensive and adds to its properties, like heat resistance, neutral and difficult to break quality.

What is the storage range of Borosil?

We have launched a range called Klip-N-Store, it has got a glass base and a lid of plastic which snaps in place, airtight. This will allow you to store food in the shelf, fridge or you can take it with you as a lunch box as it is spill proof. It is microwaveable and can be directly kept in the microwave. Our main focus has been on storage, either rectangular, square or circular shaped storages. These are basically smaller sized storages, the biggest that we have is with one or one and half litre capacity, in the future we plan to come up with bigger sizes for pulses, rice, and so on. The tumblers are normal glasses without lid. We will also launch a different type of lunchbox, a rectangular lunch box for children to be carried to school. We also have jars to store pickles or chutney.

Plastic storages are avoided for certain food products. How will Borosil penetrate the market which is very competitive?

We are going to have a marketing campaign which is going to highlight the benefits of glass. Next year we will educate the customers as to why they should use glass and not plastic.

So you are concentrating on glass?

We are focusing on glass, for storage and some steel also. We are going to launch a range of bottles thermo-steel types. So, as I said, we are not stuck to glass. In storage we feel glass or steel is better than plastic.

What kind of cooking range does Borosil have and are you making any expansion in that range?

We have been leaders in mixing bowls, casseroles, dishes and these ranges do keep going through some changes, improvements and additions. We keep changing shapes and sizes though not very big changes.

Are you manufacturing all your products in your own factory or are you outsourcing it?

Some are manufactured and some are outsourced within India and from China or Europe or even USA, it depends. Different products have got different requirements and there are many companies in the world that make high quality products. We do all the quality control checks, we specify the raw-material, so it is well controlled and we have a very good engineering team. Manufacturing in India is not very competitive, to be frank, lot of gaps are there whether it is labour, electricity or so on. So till we go up it is not possible to manufacture everything in India, though we would like to.

How do you see Borosil in next five years?

Borosil will keep growing and be a much bigger company from what it is today. We will have an established market leadership in three new categories of consumer products. We will be expanding in the Middle East market also. Today we are present in eight to ten thousand retail outlets and maybe in three to five years we will be double of that. As a company we will grow our distribution, we will grow our product range and definitely we will become a everyday useful brand.

What message you would like to share with our readers in terms of Borosil products and technology that you use?

Our brand name is always associated with quality and we don't believe in compromising, we want the best for our customers. And we hope that our customers also don't compromise on the products that they buy and demand the best. Only then they will get the right things in their house. We work hard and earn money to eat good healthy food, so end of day we should not compromise. So the key message is when you are buying something for your kitchen, think of buying the best rather than saving a few rupees because in the long run this will be beneficial.