Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Foreign flavors rule the indian snacks market


Satish K Tyagi, University of Louisiana

India termed as nation of snackers, is growing as a potential candidate for snackers/beverages in the world market owing to its more than one billion populations. Its significance is vindicated by the market value of snacks hovering around Rs. 1500 crore. However,Indian snackers corporations are struggling to capture the market as compared to international brands. The international organizations are having advantages due to their ability to provide the exact flavors which the people want. They are providing snackers in various other flavors and at a cheaper cost in India. Generally, the snacks in India are regional and there is not a fixed standard to estimate their reliability and taste. While their counterparts have certain benchmark amount of ingredients in all products, thus giving them cutting edge advantages. They have standard packing and fancy outlook which attract the customers.

Their huge investment in advertising, featuring reputed celebrities is making their product popular among the middle class families constituting around 50% of India’s population. Availability all over the nation is also reinforcing the notion of their rule as compared to national flavors.

Indians treat snacks as instant pickup luxury. Moreover Indians are going for low calorie low salt, fat free organic foods and foreign players are providing the solution in the form of light foreign flavors. The urban lifestyle of Indians lends itself to the ‘snacking and grazing’ consumption behavior, observed in developed countries. As we see a shift in Indian consumers’ lifestyle moving more towards a cosmopolitan one, snack foods that are easily portable and hygienic have become a ready substitute for hot-snacks and here the foreign flavors win the race. As long as the Indian consumers keep munching, every marketer will strive to get to the top of the snack pile.


Apurv Abhishek, IIM Indore

It’s the Desi flavor that rules the Indian market and the present world is experiencing an increasing demand of Indian flavors as direct demand or in disguise. The notion that the presence of many foreign players indicates an increasing demand of foreign flavors is contradictory. With the advent of globalization flavors are not merely confined to geographical boundaries. Certain Indian flavors have entered into different foreign markets and similarly certain foreign brands have entered into the Indian. This by no means shows that Indian flavors rule foreign market or vice versa.

For example, we can see a growing demand of ‘Punjabi’ pizzas as soon as it was introduced in the Indian market which explains we still prefer Indian flavors even in foreign products. Moreover Indians have special emotional attachment towards their ethnic or traditional food. People who live outside their home miss the taste of homemade recipes. Foreign brands also take this fact into the account while launching their products. Like Lay’s having so many foreign flavors didn’t forget to launch potato chips with typical Indian spices. Haldiram’s are now promoting Indian taste with the international standards. Lizzat papad has gone overseas serving the markets of US, UK and Middle East. And this strategy is what being followed by all the operating players in the sector. When people go for snacks they want a taste different and what can be better than different spices that are blended with the taste of diversified Indian culture.

From ‘Chat’ and ‘Bhelpuri’ on the streets to ‘Do Pyaza Tandoori Masala Pizza’ or a ‘McAloo Tikki’ burger of well conditioned restaurants, we can just conclude that India is still Indian.

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