Monisha Prasher, AGM marketing, Dabur India, says the leading juice brand’s launch of Chia and Pumpkin seeds will bring millennials and Gen Z into its fold.
A few years back the Indian food business witnessed a new trend where consumers were suddenly realising that the indigenous crops grown in India like millets and pulses were the healthier options. And since then these long-ignored millets have become popular as ‘superfoods’.
We are witnessing a similar movement now with eating seeds. The seeds of tamarind, sunflower and pumpkin, among many others, have been eaten in Indian villages for ages. Sometimes due to scarcity and sometimes for its taste. But now urban households are adding it to their shopping carts for their health benefits. They also have gained the iconic ‘superfoods’ status.
The juice brand Dabur Real will now be offering the superfood with the launch of its Chia Seeds and Pumpkin Seeds. These seeds are known to be rich in antioxidants, Omega 3, dietary fibers, vitamins and minerals.
Monisha Prasher, AGM marketing, Dabur India, says their research shows that health consciousness has risen amongst the consumers. While consciousness was already there due to the Internet and easy access to information, it was further accentuated during the pandemic, as people became more aware of what they were consuming.
“The consumer is now shifting from a purely taste-based snack, like chips, biscuits and savoury options, to more health-oriented snacking. The brand is known to offer the best combination of taste and health to the consumers. Since it matches with the brand’s core philosophy, the launch of the seeds under the portfolio was a very natural progression.”
Dabur launched Real fruit beverages in 1997. “Our current chairman, Amit Burman, started this journey. It was the first packaged fruit juice brand in India and, at that time, it was an unheard concept. Till date, we continue to be the number one juice and nectar brand in the country,” adds Prasher.
Real has a wide range of fruit beverages, with 22 flavours, like Guava, Pomegranate, Mixed Fruit, etc. It also has a premium range, offering Alphonso Mango, Pink Guava and Mixed Berries, and an ethnic range, with Masala Aam Panna, Masala Guava, Masala Sugarcane, Masala Pomegranate and Masala Mixed Fruit.
Despite its legacy of being just a beverage brand, Prasher is confident that the consumers will easily accept Chia and Pumpkin seeds from the same brand.
“When we asked the consumers what Real stands for, they said it was a combination of taste and nutrition, as it allows them to indulge their taste, without compromising on nutrition. So, the consumers see the brand in a much larger perspective. We believe the consumer will happily accept and adopt the new offering.”
Dabur has a complete range of health supplements that include products like Chyawanprash and Honey. In the foods category, it also has the Hommade brand for chutneys and pastes. So, why did Dabur choose to launch Chia and Pumpkin seeds under the Real brand?
“Real has always stood for modern-day nutrition, whereas Honey and Chyawanprash are our ethnic Ayurvedic products. It is Dabur’s face in the food and beverage category. So, we felt that Real would be a better fit for this new category,” Prasher explains.
The consumer today is spoilt for choice when it comes to snacks. During the pandemic, with all family members locked up at home there was a greater demand for snacks. But with no help available and work from home keeping people busy, consumers were looking for easy snacking options. Brands responded with equal gusto and launched a variety of snacks across categories. Apart from the regular snacking options like chips, biscuits and cookies, frozen foods have gained prominence in this category and brands like McCain, ITC Master Chef, Wow! Momo and Prasuma, are catering to that demand.
Accompanying this trend, is people’s search for healthy alternatives. The pandemic has also made people conscious of what they are putting into their body. These two trends have come together to create the demand for healthy snacking options. Dabur’s recent launch is a result of this growing demand. Many other brands in recent times have launched healthy snacks like granola bars and Greek Yoghurts.
Though it may seem unlikely that the Indian consumer, who has traditionally snacked on samosas and kachoris, is going to feast on seeds during snack time, Dabur is banking on this change in consumer’s mindset and has placed its seeds in this ever-expanding snack platter. It positions the product as a snack because it believes that the consumer is most likely to consume this product during the mid-meal hunger pangs.
“Most people reach out for not so healthy options during this time. But there is a guilt associated with this choice,” mentions Prasher.
The brand is also trying to educate the consumer about how they can add these seeds to their everyday dishes like soups, salads, smoothies and nut mixes. “Consumers usually have two questions when it comes to healthy snacking options- how to consume it and what benefit it will offer. So we are trying to do a series of online videos and digital campaigns to educate the consumer on these facets. This will not only drive consumption, but also understanding of the category and, hence, adoption,” she said.
"We are trying to do a series of online videos and digital campaigns to educate the consumer on these facets. This will not only drive consumption, but also understanding of the category and, hence, adoption."
She adds that the demand for such healthy snacks is currently limited to urban individuals. “But it is purely a function of awareness and distribution. Once it is available in the neighbourhood shop, every Indian would love to try it.”
Currently, Chia and Pumpkin seeds are available only online as that is where the audience lies, but Dabur intends to roll them out in other channels soon. The early adopters are those people in urban areas who are looking for a healthier option for their snacking needs. They are becoming more conscious about their health and are trying to cut down on empty calories or add nutrition to their daily food.
On the target audience, Prasher says, “We define the TG more by mindset than demographics, the mindset for change.”
The product is sold in 250 grams ziplock packs. In a sitting people may consume around 20-25 grams. The ziplock will ensure the product’s freshness. Also with people returning to their offices, this will make it easier for them to keep it at their work desks and consume it when they have mid-meal hunger pangs.
“The brief for the packaging was simple- accentuate the seeds and make them look mouth watering. At the same time it needs to look really premium,” she added.
The healthy seeds category has largely been an unorganised one. With its entry in the category, Dabur Real will be competing with Del Monte that offers Chia and Sunflower seeds, and many D2C and local brands.
But Dabur considers the overall snacks market as its rival. It intends to eventually replace the different snack categories in the consumer’s life. While this is its first foray in the healthy snacks category, the brand intends to foray deeper into it in the long term.
These seeds are not easily available in the neighbouring grocery store and are more likely to be found in specialised organic or health stores. Prasher believes that Dabur’s entry into this category will make them more accessible and als offer better quality.
"This will allow us to bring into the fold millennials and Gen Z, who are much more attuned to these kinds of products and are looking for these options to start with."
In turn, the seeds will help bring millenials and Gen Z into Dabur’s fold. “We cater to a wide variety of consumers. From people who believe in age-old Ayurveda to people who are looking for modern alternatives. So this will allow us to bring into the fold millennials and Gen Z, who are much more attuned to these kinds of products and are looking for these options to start with,” she said.