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Breakfast cereal market serves fun, food, health and more

07-February-2005
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Breakfast cereal market serves fun, food, health and more

It's time for some food for thought. Recently, Godrej Foods entered the breakfast cereal market with its brand called Sofit. Until now, three players, Kellogg's, Mohan's and Bagry's, have been aggressively promoting their brands in India, with Kellogg's primarily dominating the scene with a market share of 70 per cent. Interestingly, all the players are charting out different strategies to reach the same audience - the little ones and the younger generation.

While Kellogg's captured the consumers with its brand promotions and the appealing cartoon characters on the packaging, Godrej is taking a different route to enter the stomach. "We have not shown cartoon characters but a set of young adults engaging in fitness activities. Our TG is young adults and the focus is on fitness because we believe that modern lifestyle and work pressures do not allow most of us to indulge in fitness-related activities. Hence, the need to invest in health products," said M.Y. Varma, VP - Sales and Marketing, Godrej Industries Limited, Foods Division.

Kellogg's, however, has been addressing it differently. It's a blend of fun and health, which is perhaps what really clicked for the company with both children and adults accepting the brand. "We have different brands targeted at different consumer groups and the needs are positioned accordingly. While Kellogg's Chocos is the brand positioned on fun platform, it continues to be strong on nutrition benefits as well," said K Venkatachalam, Managing Director, Kellogg's India Pvt. Ltd. In fact, Kellogg's extended the fun platform further with Kellogg's Chocos Spider-Man 2 Cereal, wherein specially "web-designed cereal" was introduced for sometime.

Interestingly, packaging, certainly, seems to be one of the key factors, which both Kellogg's and Godrej are focusing upon. On whether Godrej Foods is also planning to innovate the look, Varma said, "Packaging innovations and changes will be carried out after studying the market's response in the six to seven cities that we have launched. A call on the same will be taken in the next two to three months."

Yet another aspect is the diverse breakfast taste of Indians, which makes it more important for the marketers to ensure that they cater to varied taste buds and innovate the product consistently. "Both Corn Flakes and Chocos are international in formulation. However, some variants have been developed to local taste preferences. As the category continues to grow in the country, we will evaluate more food options to the breakfast table," Venkatachalam said. On the taste front, Godrej Foods has introduced some standard flavours blended with the power of Soya and wheat. Varma added, "Consumers certainly want health products that taste good, which is the reason why we have introduced Chocolate, Strawberry and Honey flavours." Asked if the company is looking at widening the range, he said, "Plans to introduce a sugar free variant are also on the anvil."

Varma, speaking on the initial market response for Sofit, said, "The initial market response has been positive. We are in the final stages of completing our initial placement quantities. This will be backed up by a round of press advertisements." Presently, the size of the market as monitored by AC Nielsen retail audit is about 4100T in volume terms for 2004, which showed a 36 per cent growth in the year.

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