India is a rapidly evolving market and the taste palate is changing very dynamically. The forces of urbanisation, increased experimentation and the attitude towards cuisines have led people to experiment with their food. To cater to this huge consumer base, Nestlé India recently launched the MAGGI Masalas of India Noodles range. The new range of MAGGI noodles consists of four new flavours - Amritsari Achari, Mumbaiya Chatak, Super Chennai and Bengali Jhaal.
With the launch of the MAGGI Masalas of India, Nestlé India has brought the much-needed innovation in the noodle portfolio to offer its discerning consumers an opportunity to taste various popular Indian cuisines and flavours via their favourite MAGGI noodles. A unique MAGGI Masalas of India Noodle box has been launched, that contains three units each, of all the four flavours, and is available exclusively on PayTM Mall at a price of Rs 240.
"We wanted to give MAGGI lovers even more ways to enjoy their favourite noodles. So, we launched 'Masalas of India' after extensive market and consumer research which led us to believe that locally inspired food with its own set of signature spices, which will give MAGGI local flavor from the region, will be a success. The success of our previously launched 'MAGGI HOT HEADS' also made us believe that our consumers are willing to experiment with MAGGI," says Maarten Geraets, general manager, food, Nestlé India, about the recently launched Masalas of India noodles range.
The brand adopted an innovative 360 degree marketing approach spanning across TVC's, radio spots, print advertisements and on-ground activation to promote the new launch. In a first-of-its-kind association, Nestlé India collaborated with Google and PayTM Mall, to roll out a new promotion for the launch of the new variants of MAGGI Noodles.
"This was the first time a technology giant like Google associated with a brand to host an online contest through their search bar. The engagement helped us build anticipation and excitement around the new variants and engage with our consumers. Also, food festivals in India are on a rise and our association with GoBuzzinga (a Delhi-based startup which organised #MaggitujheSalaam last year) presented us with an excellent opportunity to get our consumers to taste the Masalas of India," informs Geraets.
Last year, in order to make a huge comeback in the 'instant noodles' category, Nestlé India launched Maggi HOT HEADS with some spicy flavours and varieties. The move is believed to be, in part, reactive to the competitive forces (Ching's, especially) out there. So, while the classic MAGGI Masala noodles has become a regular part of small meal repertoire, the brand wants to continue experimenting and exploring new cuisines as it considers food-adventurism to be on the rise.
"We believe that anytime is a good time to launch a product as long as you have a winner at hand. Also, growing urbanisation, extended travel schedules and the lifestyle of consumers exposes them to various culinary experiences. As a brand, we are expected to keep up with these experiences," explains Geraets.
He adds, "Amritsar, Mumbai, Chennai and West Bengal are amongst the hotbeds of lip-smacking cuisines and flavours in north, west, south and east India respectively. We then worked on multiple product prototypes using local spices and ingredients to finally arrive at these four variants of Masalas of India. Hence we believe that these would be the ideal flavours to reach out to a large consumer base in India."
Cooking up a nostalgic story...
It's a known fact that Maggi is perhaps the most loved Ready To Cook (RTC) snack in the country, which has a huge mass appeal across all age groups. It's also true that there are hundreds of ways in which people all across the country customise their Maggi as per their own mood, tastes and what's available at home. Maggi took that same consumer behaviour forward. Also the brand keeps introducing new flavours to stay afresh in the consumer mindset, especially in a highly competitive RTC snacking category that is already being heated up with Ching's and Patanjali - first with HOT HEADS and now with Masalas of India flavours.
So afaqs! asked the experts 'does the move succeed in making a mass appeal once again?'
According to Bikram Bindra, vice-president and strategic planning head - Delhi, Grey group, the beauty of the snacking category is that it opens itself up to a lot of play, in terms of flavour and textures. Also the chance to come out with limited time options (LTOs) help the brand not only create buzz and showcase variety, but also sometimes helps launch a great new winning product. "Other adjacent categories such as savoury snacks and chips do this often, so it is great that Nestlé India is really unlocking flavour innovation through Maggi. However, I don't see these as mass variants, at least not immediately. In fact, I feel instinctively, that they will appeal to a more modern evolving metro consumer who has started appreciating the regional flavours of India, and enjoys expanding his or her palate. As a brand, of course an innovation like this strengthens its position as the category leader," he says.
And while Bindra feels the ads have been shot well and they have a slice of life with a hint of humour, he maintains, "Somewhere they don't really do justice to the whole regional diversity plot that the launch is trying to build on. I would really dial up the uniqueness of our diversity, and also, since this is a new flavour variant, definitely do more justice to the product itself, in terms of the ingredients and taste."
Harish Bijoor, brand guru and founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. says, "India is a masala land. The launch of four new variants localises and helps create a barrier to entry. This is a great way to distinguish and segment consumption. It is a logistics nightmare for sure but is an effective invention of the plain old noodle with the endearing old taste. The execution is predictable yet effective, and there is an effort to unify it all under the umbrella of the myriad tastes of India."
Chitresh Sinha, CEO, Chlorophyll Innovation Lab, says, "What Maggi is doing is a perfect flanking strategy. Even if they had not incurred losses (when the product was banned for a few months), this is a logical step to evolve with the times. By itself, this launch will not single-handedly recover Maggi's lost market share but it is also a step in the right direction for the company."
"Maggi as a brand has a diverse consumer base. It includes adults, kids and the youth. Their brand and communication strategy demands that they appeal to this large and diverse base without alienating any one audience. By launching 'Masalas of India' as a sub-brand, they are doing something unique. It is giving them an opportunity to actually take a slightly different approach in branding and communication for this sub-brand. They can focus on a particular social context that is experimenting with food, which embraces their 'Global Indian' identities."