January 15, 2012

Indian Packaged Food Industry Need to Focus on Indian Food


Habits do change with time but old habits actually die hard. Just go to any Fast food joints like MacDonald, KFC, Pizza hut and you shall droves of next gen Indians, and on the other hand you shall see families waiting to get a seat for dinner at Indian eateries. Well I do not wish to conclude that when families go out to eat, which are a huge number in Indian metro & mini metros, they tend to prefer multi-cuisine restaurant over a pizza outlet.

A careful investigation of Indian packaged food retail actually throws up quite a range of products from frozen peas, cut veggies, paronthas to ready to eat mixes. But unlike other food products that survive on major regional brands we yet to have a widely distributed food chain that offers semi boiled pulses, ready- to- cook & ready- to- eat range of pulses & veggies. You could enjoy canned ready to eat curries from Markfed in Punjab but you got to search for an outlet selling it. Frozen peas are widely available but not become a brand.

All marketing strategists agree that unless a food brand identifies closely with one product it would be impossible to build a category brand. Macdonald is a burger brand, pizza hut is obviously a pizza retail outlet therefore market is available for peas & chopped veggies brand.  The perishable nature of veggies no longer remains a technology challenge as varieties of technologies are available. We yet to have a brand that identifies closely with a particular food like boiled pulses or diced cut veggies.

Major bottleneck in creation of a food brand is lack of distribution muscle with regional medium & small players. Media has several regional options to target consumers in most of local markets in India. It is time we have boiled pulses available t bread & eggs counters so that consumers could benefit. 

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