Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 4600
, Published on 05 January 2013
According to ancient Indian sources, yogurt or dahi mixed along with honey is called the food of the Gods. Dahi or Curd has been cited by some as the most perfect food known to mankind.
It is consumed in a very different way in each region in India and is generally made at home. In the South, people prefer Curd rice whereas in Kolkata its Mishti Doi that’s more popular. At home, the curd is prepared by keeping it overnight for preparation by mixing a teaspoon of curd, milk and sugar and keeping it in a casserole generally. Off late, the Indian consumer has been exposed to variety of packaged dahi offerings from local and regional players in various flavours. There is also a certain category of yogurt offerings called as probiotic yogurt.
The word Probiotic means ‘For Life’. Probiotic foods contain live micro-organisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. It Is a relatively new phenomenon in India and people in India are generally not aware of its benefits. Globally the probiotic market is nearly $17 billion whereas in India the size is only about Rs 100 crore.
Probiotic curd is a very new category in India as probiotic foods started occupying store shelves only in 2007. The main players are Amul, Nestle, Mother Diary and Yakult Danone. Amul has its Flaavyo probiotic youghurt available in 5 flavours at a price of Rs 10 for a pack of 100 gms. It was the first player in India to enter the probiotic dahi category. Nestle India which has nearly a 30% market share in the packaged curd market has launched ActiPlus in the probiotic dahi category. Mother India has b-Active line of products in the probiotic foods category.
The challenge for marketing pro-biotic food is clearly to make the consumer believe that the product is delivering benefits to them. Another problem is that people are more used to curdling dahi at home rather than buying it which requires a change in consumer behaviour. Companies such as Amul, Nestle have been essentially trying to brand a homemade Indian staple. Hence, marketing of pro-biotic curd is quite a challenge in the Indian market and the communication should initially focus on building the category of pro-biotic foods first. It should focus on the benefits of pro-biotic food and subtly end up with suggesting pro-biotic curd as the best way to consume pro-biotic food.
The communication could focus on the following main benefits:
Benefits of pro-biotic food
Reducing cholesterol levels
Tasting same as ordinary curd
But again, focussing too much on solving digestion issues will restrict the product to only those people who have digestion problems
Benefits of buying curd than curdling it
Easy and convenient- available in all seasons of the year
Longer shelf life of about 10 days
Marketing Probiotic Dahi
‘Healthcurd’ - the healthier curd for the healthier you - Communication could focus on the stronger immunity that pro-biotic curd promises and the fact that it is healthier than homemade curd since it is probiotic.
Ideally, the target audience for the product should be housewives, lady of the house who is the decision maker and the youth of the family, who are more health conscious to clearly communicate the benefits of the pro-biotic curd.
Health Clubs: Probiotic dahi brands can tie-up with a pan India gym chain such as Talwalkar’s, Gold’s Gym, etc to send communication mails to its members about the benefits of pro-biotic food with their branding. They can have advertisements within gyms and health clubs in the form of banners and standees.
Doctor Engagement: Undertake a program to educate doctors and physicians about probiotic food – how to consume pro-biotic, when and when not to consume pro-biotic, etc and the various benefits of pro-biotic.
TV Channels: On channels such as ‘Food Food’ a lot of recipes are shown which use curd as an ingredient for preparation. A probiotic curd company could tie-up with such channels, where the chef uses pro-biotic curd instead of homemade curd clearly highlighting the benefits of pro-biotic curd, insisting that it tastes the same and is not expensive as well. This would go a long way in changing the perception that probiotic curd doesn’t taste anything different from ordinary curd.
Cafeterias: Tie up with some companies and corporate houses to offer pro-biotic curd instead of normal curd in their daily meals and also have a communication campaign educating the employees about the benefits of probiotics.
Tie-up with Yogurt Ice Cream Chains: Tie-up with yogurt ice cream chains such as Cocoberry or Yogurberry to have certain offerings made from probiotic curd and make them a partner in communicating the benefits of probiotic curd to end customers.
Consumer Education: Holding health seminars in large housing societies for educating consumers about the benefits of pro-biotic and solve their queries regarding pro-biotic food.
TV Advertisements: A marketing campaign for a mass product like curd is incomplete without a television campaign.
The campaign could show a dietician speaking about the benefits about pro-biotic curd which is substantiated by a customer testimonial who says that pro-biotic curd has helped improve her digestive system.
Direct Marketing: Yakult Danone has engaged its consumers via direct marketing, where a team of Yakult ladies is there to answer customer’s queries about probiotic food and ensure regular supplies of their probiotic drink.
Curd as a product in India is too generic and very ubiquitous. But, the adoption of the probiotic curd will be aided by changing consumer behaviour in urban areas and metro cities towards buying more packaged foods. Although a niche category in India currently, the probiotic foods category is bound to grow in India with more and more consumers turning towards healthier food. Probiotic curd certainly offers more health benefits as compared to normal curd. But is this proposition strong enough and able to exude value to the end consumer is waited to be seen.
This article has been authored by Ricky Sundrani & Mandeep Kharbanda from NMIMS Mumbai.
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