‘Modern day’ Indian consumers are more aware about their health and the food they consume. The increased level of awareness coupled with an array of nutritiousoptions available, more people are switching to healthy food with multiple consumption occasion.
The healthy breakfast cereal segment is fast catching on with the Indian consumer. Though still in its infancy, it demonstrates a tremendous growth opportunity. India’s breakfast cereal market is forecasted to expand to INR 2,610 crore by 2020 from INR 1,440 crore in 2015, according to market research firm Euromonitor International. As the need for healthy choices is only growing, companies are bringing in more options to satisfy their hunger by revamping their distribution and product range offerings.
In recent times, there has been a paradigm shift in consumer behavior when it comes to food. The paucity of time coupled with a need to consume ‘healthy and nutritious’ food items, people have become more conscious about what they consume. Cereals have started overlapping with snacks and are consumed as mid-day meals as well. “We believe that modern Indian consumers don’t want to compromise on their nutrition intake and paying a little extra for quality food is not a problem anymore. Also, there is more focus on clean labels and natural and organic foods than ever before. Today, food is moving from being a sheer necessity to a lifestyle choice,” explains Aditya Bagri, Director, Bagrry's India. Both breakfast cereals and snacks are different categories. “A snack is over 10x times the size of breakfast cereals. While a breakfast cereal is a habit formed and an informed purchase, snacking is more impulsive,” opines Bagri.
“Consumers have started to consume muesli and granola as snacks, replacing fried savory alternatives. Hot cereals like oats are being used to make many traditional Indian dishes like poha and idli, rather than the conventional porridge. Owing to such multi-purpose uses, hot cereals, muesli and granola continue to see faster growth compared to other breakfast cereals. Consumers looking for weight loss, balanced intake of minerals and nutrients, along with a quick alternative to a traditional breakfast, will contribute to the growth of breakfast cereals,” informs DilipRadhakrishna, Research Analyst at Euromonitor International.
Competition Heats Up
With the launch of ‘NESPLUS’, a new range of breakfast cereals, Nestlé India has forayed into the breakfast cereal market and is all set to woo the health-conscious consumers to seize market opportunities. Besides, Hindustan Unilever (HUL)last year had launched a range of breakfast mixes under its ayurvedic brand, Lever Ayush. The new entrants will lock horn with Kellogg’s, Bagrry’s and PepsiCo Quaker, which together capture more than three-quarters of the market.
“As a brand, we constantly innovate and come up with better offerings to satiate the appetite of health-conscious consumers. We keep abreast of market trends. However, the prime challenge is to grow in the category as well as consumption,” comments Bagri. Recently, Bagrry's India has launched Protein Muesli (India’s first whey protein-based cereal), Bagrry’s Corn Flakes plus and Choco+ in the cornflakes and kids cereal segment, respectively.
Since the competition has gone up, each brand approaches the consumer differently and brings unique offerings. Some have made the ready-to-eat food available while some have brought the traditional grain like millet to the breakfast table. “We have different products targeting different age groups. Ragi Bites for kids; Flakes for kids and adults both; Muesli for the younger crowd; and Masala oats for the consumers seeking hot and savory meal. Also, we have launched 12 grains-based drinks for the fitness conscious consumers,” says Prashant Parameswaran, Founder and Managing Director, Kottaram Agro Foods.
Expanding the Reach
To tap into the robust market, companies are leaving no stone unturned to penetrate deeper into the market – beyond the metros and mini-metros. Bagrry’s, which has a pan India presence, says “Since we are a lifestyle product, the demand is largely from urban, semi-urban, metros and tier-1 cities. However, there is an increasing focus on rural and tier-2 cities as well and we are witnessing an increased demand. Besides, e-commerce as a platform provides availability to each deliverable pin code in India.” Bagrry's India has a network of over 70,000 general retail stores in over 150 towns and cities, all the major modern retail stores, e-commerce and HoReCA (Hotels, Restaurants, Catering and Airlines).
“We are constantly expanding our reach in both domestic and international markets. Last year, we tied up with the Japanese major Indo-Nissin Foods to expand the distribution of small value units. Also, we have launched in two new international markets this year. Our aim is to reach 1, 50,000 outlets in India and at least 20 countries by 2020,” informs Bagri.
Currently present in 16 cities including major metros and tier 1 cities across India, Soulfull too is increasing its reach. “We are planning to expand in 25 cities by the end of this fiscal year,” informs Parameswaran.