6 Marketing Lessons from India's Food Brands

Food Products is the 2nd largest Indian FMCG segment (~18%) and continues to have strong double digit growth over 2014-18. Brands across leading Indian firms and MNCs are leading this by driving accelerated category growth via penetration (new users). This is done through sustained efforts across the marketing mix (pricing, distribution, product innovation, media). However in this article we will focus on the proposition and demonstrate how some of the classic category development principles have been brought to life.

Brands: "The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference".
As Byron Sharp explains it, the task at hand for marketeers is to repeatedly recruit the 'light buyers' into the category/brand. This is done by addressing barriers to usage and/or making the proposition distinctive and persuasive.

(1) Address category usage barriers 
Taste - 'I don't think it'll taste good (while I want to eat healthy..)'
Saffola Masala Oats: Guilt Free Snacking
Health - 'I don't think it will be healthy'
Maggi Oats Noodles - with 1 bowl of fibre, proteins and veggies
Note: Oats is a fantastic case study of localized product innovation. A food segment which didn't exist in India a decade ago is now giving a good fight to corn flakes and traditional food products. We will probably revisit Oats India later as a separate analysis.

(2) Break the existing habit by making BIG promises
Milk Additives - these brands also need to fight against traditional MFDs like Bournvita and Horlicks. They add benefits well beyond taste (and energy..)
Hershey's Chocolate Syrup: Milk Booster: 2X Milk Calcium in one glass + Chocolatey Taste
Pediasure - Reduces chances of infection, and 50% more growth
Green Tea - Needs to substitute existing milk tea habits. Strong Promises on health and weight loss.
Tetley Green Tea - Cleanses the body from inside
Lipton Green Tea - Helps Reduce Belly Fat

(3) Exemplify usage convenience - 'I don't have the time', 'It's not easy'
Negative perceptions on usage usually prohibit growth in smaller categories. This needs to be tackled in a sustained manner till the category becomes familiar. This approach also needs to be combined with solutions on driving fast trial via low price packs.

ID Vada Batter - pack that easily shapes batter into vadas
Chings Chinese Soup - Ek minute mein hunger ki bajao
MTR - 3 Minute Breakfast
Hershey's MilkShake - Out of Home Snacking (with Calcium, Vitamin and Taste)
(4) Fit the product seamlessly into an existing consumer routine
Horlicks - Mix Horlicks to increase the power of milk
Note: This strategy is not unique to Horlicks and has quite become the category norm

Dr. Oetker - Mayonnaise:  Makes Sandwich/Burger/Roti tastier
(5) Reinvent Traditional Habits
This is a tricky task which requires the product to substitute traditional ingredients without compromising on the cooking procedure or the final taste. However brands can reap immense benefits if consumers adopt the category/brand.

Reinvented Breakfast - Saffola Oats Poha

Reinvented Snacks and Sweets - Hershey's Syrup - Strawberry Flavor Coconut Ladoo

(6) Bring in the kiddos! (There's no force more powerful in the world than a nagging kid in the shopping aisle..)

Kinder Joy - New Surprises with every pack: build a new world of imagination
Dominos Burger Pizza
Do you have more examples or principles to share? Do add your comments.

Saffola 2014 case study: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhwECfsvOQ8


  1. great work brother.... informative blog.... must check all blog posts. Thanks For sharing amazing information .


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