Debashish ChakrabortyPublished: 7 Oct 2019, 6:13 AM
Marketing Initiative

“We recognise Khichdi as a 'Superfood'”: Ajay Motwani, Adani Wilmar

Recently, India's leading edible oil brand, Fortune entered the ready-to-cook segment with Khichdi. The product is available in three variants (Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati) across selective markets and e-commerce portals. To understand more, we got in touch with Ajay Motwani, Head of Marketing, Consumer Business, Adani Wilmar (Fortune's parent company). In his interaction with Debashish Chakraborty of afaqs! he talks about the brand's ideology behind this launch, their go-to-market approach, target audience, and how their 'superfood' stays true to the health quotient and satisfies the hunger pangs as well.

Edited excerpts...

Fortune has become a household name in the edible oils category, what was the thought process behind getting into the ready-to-cook segment?

The ready to cook segment has some consumer megatrends which it will ride on and we expect this segment to scale up fast. Because today's women – both working and housewives – is time starved. The demand to keep the house running efficiently and also take care of the jobs outside it, consumes most of their time. She has to multi task hugely. So, convenience while addressing health and taste, are key requirements. Also, the ready to cook segment offers the emotional satisfaction of adding her special touch by adding a few ingredients to complete a meal for the family, while reducing the effort and time. Within this category, we shall explore segments that offer back end synergies. In the future, RTC will not have a linear growth profile but an exponential one.

With a substantial number of products in this segment, how did you narrow down to Khichdi? And what was the overall go-to-market approach?

We recognise Khichdi as a 'Superfood' - it is a wholesome meal which is tasty as well as nutritious. Also, we had the capabilities and required knowledge since we already have a strong presence in the Basmati and Regional Rice, and Dal segments. Therefore, we just had to invest in making a taste-maker (masala) and sourcing healthy grains and millets like bajra, jowar, ragi, sesame seeds, and flax seeds. This is distinctive from the Khichdi at home, as it has added healthy millets. It is authentic too, as it uses basmati rice for the Punjabi variant, gobindo bhog rice for the Bengali variant as well as roasted sona moong dal, and jeerasar rice for the gujarati one. In addition to this, it does not have any preservatives or added chemicals to enhance the taste or flavour.

Our Go-to-market approach is consumer-oriented. It all starts with Concept/Idea Research; where we understand Fortune Superfood Khichdi’s acceptance among it’s TG. We check Purchase intent, Price/Non Price, and if scores are in the Top 25 percentile of NPD norms, for both concept/product, we move ahead.

You already have it in 3 variants (Bengali, Punjabi & Gujarati). Can we expect more launches of different variants of Khichdi in the near future?

In our research, we saw that the ready-to-cook products have huge traction in larger metropolitan cities. So, we started with Delhi as we have a stronger hold here as well as a strong distribution network. And to cater to the modern or time stuck consumers, we have also launched the product across e-commerce portals. We zeroed in on these three variants due to the presence of a substantial Punjabi and Bengali audience who are located in Delhi, and are Khichdi lovers. The Gujarati variant is a try out for which we have received a positive feedback.

At Fortune, once a new product hits the shelf, work begins on the next wave. Similarly, with Khichdi, we have regional and non-traditional variants being worked on.

What type of audience are you are planning to tap?

One of the reasons for getting into this product segment was the diverse audiences one can tap. Health centric Women (housewifes and working) who want to cater to their family’s nutrition and taste needs, but often fail to do so due to multiple demands on their time. Then there are college students and bachelors/bachelorettes who crave home-cooked meals and look for a break from their junk food routine. These are our primary TG. Also, a meal like Khichdi doesn't have an age bracket. It is savoured as much as by school kids as by grandparents, by health seekers as well as the unwell.

What is the product marketing strategy for Fortune Khichdi?

Digital would play a major role in our marketing media mix, since our audience spends 25-30% of time consumption happens on social media, chat messengers. Our TG is consuming content on the go and 80% of it comes from Mobile in these markets. They are always looking out for easy and convenient options where mobile becomes a go to medium to initiate any kind of research. to Hence it is imperative to be present and tap in the audience at relevant touchpoints. Our traditional/new age media mix is 50:50.

Our digital agency for this product, Experience Commerce will be handling our digital content creation and media release.

The market for ready-to-cook Khichdi is still a newfound market. What are your plans to capitalize on this opportunity?

The ready-to-cook Khichdi segment is an emerging space. There aren’t too many players, so we plan to expand this space. With a SuperFood positioning and an authentic product with the presence of healthy millets to complement it, we feel we can alter the existing behaviour of cooking regular khichdi at home with a branded, healthier, convenient alternate. Additionally, the pricing is penetrative at Rs. 49/- for a pack of 200g which feeds a family of four, so the value proposition is strong.

What more can we expect from Fortune?

In the last 12 months, we have launched 12 new products. One every month. In edible oils as well as foods. These range from expanding our basmati rice offerings to launching regional rice varieties; specialised besan for certain dishes, healthy groundnut oils, Arhar Dal-polished and unpolished.

Some are in the pilot/test market stage, while some are being scaled up post passing ‘Test market’ norms on Awareness/Trials/Repurchase/Market share. This ensures only the ones with Scale building potential, see Resources being invested.

We have a strong pipeline being worked on too. Products that can either solve a problem in consumer lives, or improve lives, address need gaps, underserved segments- These define our new product scope.

All this towards transforming from a dominant edible oils player to a formidable Oils & foods player.

Some are in the pilot/test market stage, while some are being scaled up post passing ‘Test market’ norms on Awareness/Trials/Repurchase/Market share. This ensures only the ones with Scale building potential, see Resources being invested.

We have a strong pipeline being worked on too. Products that can either solve a problem in consumer lives, or improve lives, address need gaps, underserved segments- These define our new product scope.

All this towards transforming from a dominant edible oils player to a formidable Oils & foods player.