While the fast moving consumer goods industry is growing at 1.4 per cent, branded packaged soups segment is growing at 20 per cent. Jumping on to the bandwagon is Dabur Foods, the wholly owned subsidiary of Dabur India.
The company is warming up to the Rs 40 crore branded packaged soups category under the Hommade brand. Under this brand, the company already sells ginger-garlic paste, tomato puree, coconut milk and chutneys.
Sanjay Sharma, head-marketing, Dabur Foods, said, “Hommade soups are being test marketed in select cities till September and, subsequently, we intend to roll out nationally prior to winters.” The variant that is being test marketed is tomato soup and is priced at Rs 16 for a 200 gm pack.
Nestle’s Maggi, which pioneered the branded packaged soup, is the market leader followed by Hindustan Lever’s Knorr Annapurna, apart from players such as the south based MTR Foods. Industry sources say that Indians drink close to 22 million litres of soup every year, but the share of branded packaged soups is 1.2 million litres. Gujarat Cooperative Milk Federation (Amul) that also entered the soups segment has met with little success till date.
Also, soups are still not a part of household ‘s regular monthly purchase list and the biggest deterrent is that Indians do not have an appetiser before meal.
“Out-of home consumption for soups outscores in-home consumption,” said Sharma. While most companies are looking at in-home consumption as a potential growth driver, Dabur’s research indicates that a taste mismatch between soups consumed out-of-home and those consumed-in-home with packaged powdered soups, is the limiting factor.
Dabur executives claim that Hommade soup’s liquid formulation and taste matches that of soups consumed out-of-home and will, therefore, drive the potential in-home consumption market.