Nitin Paranjpe predicts inflationary risks will persist through rest of the year . Paranjpe says the medium- and long-term prospects for the fast-moving consumer goods industry are unquestionably positive .
Mumbai (India): In an exclusive interview, Hindustan Unilever chairman Nitin Paranjpe predicted that inflationary risks would persist through the rest of the year, but that the medium- and long-term prospects for the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry are unquestionably positive.Paranjpe, who took over as chairman of HUL on March 31, said that global challenges are likely to persist.Cool-off, he said, is probably overstating when asked if the start of the cool-off in certain commodity prices has provided any temporary relief.If I were to anticipate what is going to happen in 2023, I would be overly optimistic.Because the world is also more volatile and uncertain than before, I think the only thing we can do at this stage is to structurally embed our ability to stay agile and respond to these shifts.I don't think anyone has noticed the speed of inflation as we're seeing at this moment, said Paranjpe.He said a way to deal with it is to stick to one's values, stay focused on the consumer, maintain the agility, and ensure that it supports its company model.You run the business on the long term. However, we have to deal with it in a way that preserves the beauty of what we were here to do when we were here 100 years ago; we want to be here for the next 100 years and such periods will arise, said Paranjpe, who is also Unilever's chief transformation officer and chief people officer.According to Paranjpe, the company has soared to Rs 50,000 crore because it has constantly adapted and changed to the evolving needs of the customer, aspirations, and demands in the region.Paranjpe said that India has seen double-digit wholesale price increases in the past 14 months in response to shareholders' concerns at the company's 89th AGM, which was held on Thursday.And, he said, although FMCG markets have generally been steady for a long time, they have started seeing the same effects, with market growth rates decreasing and the sectors' volume increasing in the short run. He said that a quarter of a billion people will be pushed into poverty this year, quoting an Oxfam report, despite the fact that the world's ten richest people have more than doubled their collective fortunes since March 2020.The paradox exists in India as well.India is one of the world's most diverse countries, with the top 10% owning 63.4% of the country's total wealth, while the bottom half owning only 5.9%, according to the World Inequality Survey.According to the most recent Global Food Policy Report, India is likely to have nearly 74 million of its population hungry by 2030, despite being one of the top three producers of food crops. India's growth aspirations have been articulated loud and clear, according to Paranjpe, thanks to a fiscal easing program that can reach 10% of the country's GDP.Add to that the fact that India is the second-most populated country in the world with a large population of youth, a growing and prospering middle class, and a high rate of technology adoption, and you have exactly the right recipe for converting from a low-income country to a middle-income country,' he said.Paranjpe said that to capitalize on the opportunity, India will need to initiate the next wave of reforms, transform rural India, accelerate the development of MSMEs, improve manufacturing, and improve women's employment participation.Although India is on the verge of unprecedented growth, we will need to ensure that this growth does not come at the expense of the environment, he said.