Aishwarya Ramesh

"To convert shoppers in a store, we got them to taste our product first...": Siddarth Menon, CMO, Epigamia

How does Epigamia sell Greek yogurt to an Indian audience? Menon has some interesting insights...

Shortly after Deepika Padukone invested in the company Drums Food International., she was spotted snacking on a cup of Greek yogurt on the front page of Times of India.

"To convert shoppers in a store, we got them to taste our product first...": Siddarth Menon, CMO, Epigamia

Deepika Padukone in a full page ad in Times of India
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Livemint reports that Padukone is not only an investor in the company, but has also signed a strategic partnership with the brand as its endorser. Another Livemint report mentions that earlier this year, in January, dairy giant Danone invested Rs 182 crores in Drums Food International. in a Series C round of funding. The investment marked the first such Asia-focussed funding for Danone since it exited the dairy business in India in January 2018, the report stated.

"To convert shoppers in a store, we got them to taste our product first...": Siddarth Menon, CMO, Epigamia

Some of Epigamia's product offerings
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Currently, Epigamia is sold on Big Basket, Amazon and Godrej Nature's Basket. Additionally, Epigamia is also available offline in supermarkets and kirana stores across India. We caught up with Siddarth Menon, CMO at Drums Food International., to learn more about the dairy segment in India and the marketing strategies he uses to make his presence felt.

"To convert shoppers in a store, we got them to taste our product first...": Siddarth Menon, CMO, Epigamia

Siddarth Menon

Epigamia was responsible for bringing Greek yogurt to India. Menon mentions that distributing the products at the right places helped him build the business from scratch. "Shoppers traditionally go to a big box retailer once a week or once a month. But when they want a product, they go to a neighbourhood store. So we made it very clear that we have to be at a neighbourhood store - whether it's a kirana or a small-format supermarket - they're more discoverable. We identified these stores in key pockets of the country and pitched to them, telling them about our products and then placing them there. To convert shoppers in a store, we got them to taste our product first. We did sampling in some of these stores and that's where we started. We created demand and awareness that our product was available and that's how we built up our business; brick by brick in these neighbourhood stores," Menon highlights.

He adds that while the company also invests in outdoor and print ads, an important part of the money spent goes toward getting people to actually taste the product offline. He points out that Epigamia's some existing customers consume the product daily while others on a weekly basis.

He went on to explain how Epigamia created an offline presence for itself with the help of corporate promoters. "We get the promoters for a scheduled period of two-three months, depending on the catchment area and we got people to taste the product while they shop in the store. We've had our products sampled at events; we've been at marathons where we give runners a cup to have post their run. Be it a fitness event or any other, we want people to taste the product," he tells us.

So what exactly is the difference between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt? "When dahi is prepared at home, you'll see a layer of water over it. That's the whey. Our process filters that out so that the end product is more concentrated and has more protein than regular curd," he explains. He points out that this is one of the main differences between Epigamia and Amul or Britannia who also sell yogurt in flavours. "When we launch a variant and it doesn't work, we take it off the shelf in two weeks. We're very simple that way. Over the last two years, we introduced close to 14-15 variants of flavoured Greek yogurt. As we speak, we have nine variants on the shelves. Competitors have maybe four or five. We've given the consumer variety and we give them a lot of content that we create collaboratively," he states.

Menon also adds that the core target audience is millennials between the ages of 28-35 and that the content collaboratively created reflects the targeting of that age group. "We have done a lot of work with digital in the past; in terms of content creators - whether it's with influencers or with external publishers who have a much better reach than us." He also mentions that the packaging and colours used in product photos and the content created, help the brand stand out.

Epigamia has collaborated with content creators and has integrated its product offering into Dice Media's Filtercopy videos as well in an effort to raise awareness about the brand and its offering. He admits that he still has a long way to go when it comes to competing with the likes of Britannia and Amul in India, but he is optimistic about his product offering because the company claims to pay attention to the consumer and his needs.

Menon also states that while Epigamia yogurt and smoothies fall under the category of dairy products, the product itself is positioned as a snack and not necessarily as a health food offering. "We're inherently healthy. We're not extremely functional like a protein shake or a protein supplement, but we're not overly indulgent like ice-cream," he adds before signing off.