Tuesday, October 02, 2007

food conscious

The last few days kept me busy with a new project for a food brand, err, packaged breakfast stuff to be precise. Now, don't ask for more at this stage since I cannot reveal who he is. Anyway, the client's brief was simple, "I want people to eat more of my stuff and want them do so regularly."

Targeted at the new age consumer residing in urban areas of India, the product in question is wholesome, nutritious and a healthy option in a bar format. So we spend our time thinking how we can achieve it. After all it is a pitch and we're fighting against some of the biggest network agencies down south. As you know, in India we don't have a pitch fee and the client has the liberty to walk out with all our good thinking, so we decided to think bold. Let our thinking and only our thinking help the client decide which agency deserves to handle his brand. Leave the rest on the hands of the devil. First week, we spend time with consumers, having breakfast with them at their home. Let me tell you, it was an amazing-early-morning-gastronomic-experience. Yummy breakfasts; Gujju, Carnatic, Tamil, Keralite, Bengali, Marathi, Rajasthani breakfast in seven days. Hot homemade stuff that housewives prepare early morning for their kids and husband , boring stuff that you buy off the shelf which busy working wives prepare for their kids and husbands, stuff that you buy off the shelf and add your own bit to make it interesting at houses of single working women or men. We conducted our research over the table. Why this, why that, why, why why why; in order to understand how important is 'the most important meal of the day' in their lives. By the end of it, there was enough understanding and material to prove a point that was hovering over my head. Phew. Moreover, I enjoyed what I was doing.

So here are few observations:
1. Hectic lifestyle is giving way to smaller, more frequent snacking occasions
2. People are spending lot of time on traveling, food on-the-go is becoming more prevalent, having just an apple while driving makes more sense than a full plate of breakfast
3. Main meal and snack occasions are becoming interchangeable
4. Healthy eating is on the rise. Be it home cooked or bought from the shelf, healthy it should be. But not many consumers understand what is healthy in terms of dietary intake
5. Women (even traditional housewives) are seeking knowledge and expertise in hassle free cooking methods
6. Time of day is one of the main reason to help decide what kind of snacks and beverages should be consumed. As the day proceeds, indulgence takes over health consciousness

Also with more media proliferation, Indian consumers now understand three basic pillars of healthy eating. The diagram below explains it best. And if you notice, food brands in India are trying to latch on any one of them to communicate the end benefits.
Few years back it was food products enriched with minerals like Vitamins, Zinc, Iron, Calcium etc. Brands like Boost, Maltova, Kellogg's Iron Shakti made good use of those properties to communicate to consumers.

Then low fat become the trend. Consumers in India now understands low fat means less cholesterol, which means good for the heart. Brand Saffola is build on this.
Last year it was less sugar, which means no diabetes. Look at the shelf and you'll find brands with bright blurbs shouting Lite, Sugar Free etc on their packaging. Did you know Dabur Chyawanprakash has gone sugar free? It was news for me. Anyway.
The latest, I mean, the prevailing trend that most food brands are riding upon now is high fiber. Let's keep our eyes open and see how many brands actually start riding upon this high fiber trend to gain share of mouth. It'll be fun.

Expectation from food is changing for the new enlightened food conscious consumers of India. Be it functional, sensory or experiential, the new 20 something knows what goes in directly reflects on the outside. Food for the 24x7 life will see a change in consumption pattern. And it is in our own interest that an open eye will help us crack the code for food brands trying to serve these new enlightened consumers in India.



Mansi Trivedi said...


Maybe you have already heard about this. I love Cereality! :)

pooR_Planner said...

Wow, I didn't know this. Hmmm, makes sense. Keep sending more stuff like this from your part of the world.