Deepashree Banerjee
Digital

Zomato, Swiggy, Uber Eats make this ready-to-eat brand insecure

Gits Food clearly seems to be feeling the heat with the increasing popularity of multiple food aggregators such as Swiggy and Zomato in India's food services market.

There are two types of customers Gits Food most likely caters to - the health-conscious tribe who stay away from all things packaged and the convenience-seeker who is not too bothered about the 'no preservatives' tag as long as they get hot, tasty snacks/food when they need it. We wonder if the brand could possibly have a separate spin-off on the 'no preservatives' premise and target the former through relevant platforms. But would that help the brand compete with well-established players in the RTC market such as MTR Foods, Kohinoor, McCain Foods (India), Nestle (Maggi), and ITC India?

Conceptualised by Lowe Lintas, the digital films are for the Ready Meals, Cup Poha and Open & Eat products and are live across YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

Zomato, Swiggy, Uber Eats make this ready-to-eat brand insecure

Cup Poha | Great Khana No Drama

The films broadly talk about three situations -

a. When only cold stuff is available and the customer has the urge to eat something hot and possibly desi, excluding noodles,

b. Packaged food is generally filled with preservatives and is hence unhealthy.

c. There are times when food delivery apps (Swiggy, Zomato etc.) let you down for whatever reason.

Zomato, Swiggy, Uber Eats make this ready-to-eat brand insecure

Open & Eat - Great Khana No Drama

Incidentally, this reminds us of the Ranbir Kapoor - Paresh Rawal Coke ads. Will people be organised enough to stock up on their favourite food or will they have last-minute panic attacks? We can all agree that nothing beats tapping an app to have food brought to one's doorstep, right?

Zomato, Swiggy, Uber Eats make this ready-to-eat brand insecure

Sahil Gilani

All three films come across as rather millennial-centric product lines. We asked Sahil Gilani, director - sales and marketing, Gits Food whether the 1963-born company consider millennials as their core TG.

"While these newer products are millennial-centric, as a brand, millennials are not our primary TG. Hence, these new launches help us cater to the specific needs of the large millennial population," he responds.

Further, we couldn't help notice the deliberate effort made by the brand to explain the technical know-how (read retort technology) of preserving without preservatives, which is understandably a major concern in the food processing industry.

Gilani considers that educating customers is an important task, "Being a family business, we go a long way to ensure food safety by being an all-natural brand and we not only mention but also explain our technology of preserving without preservatives. This is communicated via our packaging, social media as well as ad campaigns."

Zomato, Swiggy, Uber Eats make this ready-to-eat brand insecure

Ready Meals - Great Khana No Drama

What also made us pause for a moment was the shot where the packet is shown getting immersed in the boiling water in one ad. When it comes to plastic food containers/wrappers, we, of course, tend to get extra cautious. It seems like a bold move on the brand's part to show something like that.

Gilani clarifies that the product packaging has multi-layer protection for added food safety. "It is combined with cutting-edge food technology which enables us to have a longer shelf life without the use of any added preservatives, colours or flavours."

For about four decades the company operated only in the Ready-to-Cook (RTC) segment before finally making its entrance into the Ready-to-Eat (RTE) category.

Gilani informs us that presently, the RTE and RTC market in India, worth Rs 1,000-1,200 crore, has been growing at approximately 12 per cent year-on-year and in terms of spends, TV dominates most of their budget. He adds, "We have been focusing on social media for a decade and constantly put out content on a daily basis. Digital marketing spends, for us, have been increasing every year. Besides that, we also do OOH and print from time to time. We pick the medium based on what works best for the specific TG and campaign. For example, these three new films are our first digital-only campaigns."

Gilani agrees that consumers are now increasingly conscious of what they eat and how they prepare it. He states, "This has helped us to strive for not only the best tasting product but also the easiest to prepare, without compromising on food and health safety whatsoever."

Zomato, Swiggy, Uber Eats make this ready-to-eat brand insecure

MG Parameswaran

Zomato, Swiggy, Uber Eats make this ready-to-eat brand insecure

L Suresh

According to brand strategist and former adman MG Parameswaran (Ambi), founder of Brand-Building.com Gits is one of the older players in the RTE market and it is good to see that they are planning to use digital videos to build trial. However, he's a little surprised that they are pushing plain vanilla products like Poha. "The three films seem to be trying to press three different buttons: easy to make, no preservatives and home taste. Possibly, these are the barriers to consumption. I wonder if these films will really trigger an adoption wave for the brand. While the films are enjoyable, are they trying to say too many things?" he says not sounding too convinced.

The films remind creative consultant L Suresh of the Snickers territory because the insight we're familiar with is that one tends to get crabby when hungry. However, here, the 'drama' is demonstrated for three different reasons across three films and none of them has anything to do with hunger.

"Someone's looking to eat something hot, someone's looking for packaged food with no preservatives and someone's looking for ready-to-eat food when his friendly neighbourhood delivery chain lets him down. Are these factors worthy of 'drama'?" he raises the question pointing out that exaggeration in advertising is always an accepted clause. "But I don't think it works here. Personally, I would keep the films and take a re-look at the proposition," he adds.

Shifting our attention to the three-film campaign, the product has three variants - heat and eat, ready meals and ready-to-eat. He says, "The brand has identified three pain-points, all of which are used to trigger the 'drama'."

He continues, "The film series has stayed faithful to the brief and has ensured that each film showcases one variant and tackles one pain point. That's like ticking all the answers to the multiple-choice question - 'Why Gits?' Since the sign off has the 'no preservatives' claim, the communication could have been single-minded in its approach."

Echoing Ambi, he raises the same concern of whether the TA (target audience) could process all of it - as the campaign is trying to say too many things.

He also adds that there are plenty of reasons why food delivery platforms can let us down. "Torrential rains, busy weekends, world cup-sized events, terrible traffic jams, no signal (on our mobiles) - or perhaps we are simply too far away. Nonetheless, it does come as a surprise that Gits has chosen to take a swipe at that category," he says.

So, will the food delivery brands be affected by ready-to-eat packaged food? "You just need to look out of your window and count the reds, oranges and greens for the answer," he signs off.