Cookie Man is looking at catching the fancy of Indian consumers. Though a big name in the South, especially Chennai and Bangalore, the Australian cookie major is now looking at expanding to other markets in India.
Talking about their plans, Pattabhi Rama Rao, President of Australian Foods India Pvt Ltd, said, “We are very aggressively focusing on North, East and Central India. In the past six months, we have forayed with new outlets in Kolkata and Indore while adding more outlets in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai.”
He further said, “Our projects in Pune and Ahemdabad are in the final stages of completion. We are aiming to open about 15 more Cookie Man stores within the next six months. Our immediate target is to foray into Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, venturing into main cities, with kiosks situated in and around the mother shop.”
Rao explained that since they were an impulse buying brand, the need was to be in high traffic areas. “Given the current retailing trend in India, this requirement is fulfilled only by the large format malls. Hence, to some extent our expansion also depends on the mall opening schedules,” he added.
Cookie Man has sold about 380 tonnes of cookies in India last year with a turnover of Rs 15 crore. Riding on the USP of “Fresh baked Australian cookies” concept, the aroma of cookies being baked right in front of the customer is seen as the ‘advantage’ factor.
Rao pointed out that Cookie Man spent around Rs 30 million every year on advertising. The strategy is to leverage direct communication and POS promotions to create a buzz around the product. The biggest tool, according to Rao, was the pleasant aroma and free sampling available for the fresh baked cookies.
Recently, Cookie Man initiated a local store marketing programme, wherein each outlet aimed at brand building via local events such as school annual day, mall promotions and local festivals. Also during festival seasons the company has introduced new packaging solutions designed to go with the occasion. Direct marketing and electronic media is relied upon to promote such offers.
According to Rao, though Indian sweet meats were still the favoured snack in Indian households, there has been increasing incidence of people turning towards ‘alternative’ snacks such as cookies and chocolates to enhance their snacking and gifting experience.
He added, “The contemporary Indian is also gradually looking at different options during the gifting season and a growing number of people in urban India have started opting for Cookie Man cookies over traditional sweets. Indians traditionally have been a biscuit eating community and we have been successful in tapping the need of introducing premium quality product. We have made a good start and are positive that more Indians will take a bigger bite of our cookies over the next few years.”
Cookie Man began with the brand first launched in Chennai in January 2000. Today, Cookie Man’s cookies are available in nine cities – Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Indore.