Monday, April 16, 2007

Snack'em up

Yes, Yes! It's hot and happening. The snacking category in India is a hot new subject of discussion among marketers at the moment. ITC Foods is all set to storm the Indian snacking market with it's new launch Bingo.

Switch-on any TV channel, you're bound to find at least two-three commercials of different brands trying to grab your attention. Leading the pack is Pepsico's Lays and Kurkure. While Bingo is the new challenger.

The dynamics of the Rs. 2500 Crores snack food market in India is fast changing. 85% of this market constitutes of salty Potato Chips. The market is growing at 25% per annum and that's a healthy sign. In India around 12 million tonnes of potato is grown which is about 4% of the total world production. However, the per capita consumption of potatoes in India is low. And surely there are many more opportunities for brands to tap in this segment. We Indians love our snacks. Jhal Muri, Batata Puri, Pani Puri, Bhel Puri, Delhi Chaat, Kolkata Chaat, Mumbai Chaat, Aloo Bhajji, Dal Puri, Bada Samosa, Chota Samosa, Kachori, snacking itself is a gastronomic delight in India.

Pepsico was the first branded player to offer various products under its Lays, Kurkure, Cheetos, Uncle Chipps brand names. Haldirams, once a small time Halawai (sweet maker) saw huge opportunity and entered the branded packaged snack food market. And they are reaping the benefits of their past effort. P&G's Pringle is a niche brand in this segment. ITC is the latest entrant and am sure they will become a highly successful brand in no time. Remember ITC is one of the most admired companies in India which loves and has the reputation to build successful brands in whichever segment they enter.

Kurkure's Cricket Campaign - 'Jupp for Cup' was withdrawn after India dismal performance in the World Cup. So Kurkure decided to bank on the family summer holiday trips by creating 'Kurkure Express.' Pepsico's train thought started with the 'Blue Billion Express' for Pepsi to support the IndianCricket Team. Since it could not make much hay, Kurkure Express is the new avatar with a little twist. Manish has written a good article on this topic. I kinda share his sentiments too - Visual corruption. As if we don't have much and need another new one. Well, I understand that 50% of Indians travel on Indian Railways and long distance/local trains as an advertising medium is too good to resist. But why make so fuss about it. I would have given a thumbs-up if they were doing some innovative promotion in the platforms and train compartments. But slapping the logo on everything just don't make any sense.

To me Kurkure could have used those 'Garam Chaiwalas' and 'Bhelpuriwalas' effectively. They are the real competition, if you know what I mean, so why not bring them under your fold rather than spend huge money to colour code train compartments.

Well, is Kurkure also taking care to do the cleaning act of left over pouches within the train premise??


lilfern said...

Hi Roop ,
Always knew that Indians are big time snackers - we want something munchy and crunchy with every tea time dont we? But somehow chips in a bowl doesnt quite compare with hot bhajiyas/samosas or some steaming tiffin (as is the case in the South).
I somehow feel that fried potato taking over mummy's/canteen wallah's oil dripped lip-smackers will require some major attitudanal shift - wotsay?
As for the advertising on railways - is a great idea methinks (good for railway coffers too). Only marketeers need to be more innovative - like how about automated dispensers (wonder why none that are there- never work???) and a branded dustbin beside it??
just a though!

pooR_Planner said...

Good thoughts there, Lilfern. But my only concern is the visual clutter. Don't we have too many of them already. And now a whole freaking train is going to be branded. Yes, Railways will make money. They have been doing the same for ages. Advertising on local trains in Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai by regional players/brands was always present. So nothing new about the concept.

As per as attitudinal changes are concerned, its already happening. Hygienically packed potato chips are now being preferred over oil dipped bhajjis and samosas. Thats another reason why a bhajjiwala can be a better spokesperson than vinyl pasted train boogies.

Probably they can use their brand ambassador, bollywood actress juhi Chawla to do a surprise train trip with holiday going families. Dispenser and the dustbin is a good idea. But I guess the brand marketers wanted a BIG Idea and not a sustainable solution. Hence train branding.


lilfern said...

still choose to disagree :) mestillthinks only a very small portion of 'urban' india is moving towards the potato chip in a big way. The people who look for hygiene are also mostly health conscious calorie counters - and hence do not 'binge' that much!!
+ honestly most so called BIG ideas are wont to go kaput - like u urself mentioned - pepsi blue billion? hoo haa india? more like haha india now!!
BUT yes - visual clutter - is THE big challenge for marketers now - lets see if for them now :)

pooR_Planner said...

That means you agree with me. You believe that visual clutter should be cut down. You also believe that the koo chuk chuk idea is nothing great. What you don't agree is the oil dipped fry. Well, ain't most snacking brands mostly talking to Indian 'urbanites.' So what really do you disagree with me ?? ;-)

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