Ubaid Zargar

Kurkure Playz, Sizzlin’ Hot, and now Chaat Fills: What is Kurkure brewing with the launches?

The brand’s category lead, Aastha Bhasin, talks about the new launches, and Kurkure’s marketing strategy in wooing consumers.

In a bid to tantalise taste buds and captivate snack enthusiasts across the nation, Kurkure has introduced a new snack called ‘Chaat Fills’. The snack, which comes in two flavours - ‘Papdi Chaat’ and ‘Bhel Chutney’, is aimed at refurbishing the street flavours into a ready-to-eat format.

The brand has been on a roll lately, introducing three delectable new flavours in just the past two months. Besides the Chaat Fills, the brand recently also added ‘Sizzlin’ Hot’ snack variant to its portfolio. In January, Kurkure also introduced a youthful sub-brand called ‘Kurkure Playz’, which came in two flavours - Puffcorn and Pastax.

With the Chaat Fills, the brand appears to have taken a very unconventional route in manufacturing. The new snacks come with paste-like fillings inside, designed to emulate the different chaat flavour profiles. The introduction of the products also came with a new TVC featuring the Bollywood actress, Sara Ali Khan, in a gangster-inspired role.

The street snacks market in India is estimated to be around $ 2-2.5 Billion and is largely unorganised. As per the brand, there is increasing consumer demand for chaat-flavored salty snacks.

Aastha Bhasin, category lead, Kurkure, PepsiCo India, highlights that the Chaat Fills is an outcome of rigorous research on consumer preferences and trends. She says, “There is a large category of street food, and Indian consumers are out seeking something new in a ‘Chaat’ space. This served as our starting point, followed by consumer research with our global and local R&D to bring this to life.”

For a new innovation, it is important that it is put out at a price point where consumers feel unhindered to try it out.

The Kurkure Chaat Fills are available at Rs 10 and Rs 20 price points across all retail and e-commerce platforms in India. The price tags are consistent with most of Kurkure’s other offerings as well. But, how crucial is setting the right price for the products, in order to woo consumers towards the category?

Bhasin answers, “For a new innovation, it is important that it is put out at a price point where consumers feel unhindered to try it out. Even though we talk of this product as a premium take on chaat, we’re still conscious to propose price points of Rs 10 and 20. The effective cost of the product is less than that of an actual plate of chaat.”

Conventionally, Kurkure’s advertisements are structured around product offerings, and flavours, with humour taking the overarching theme. With the new launch, the brand carries forward the legacy, albeit in a little gangster way. The ambassador, Sara Ali Khan is seen donning the role of a thug, and is on a hunt for ‘maal’, delivered to her in a pack of Chaat Fills.

Bhasin reveals that the communication mix for the product is grounded in differentiating it from the rest of the category. “The task was to tell how this product format is differentiated. In our usual storytelling, you’d see the burst of ‘masala’ and the irresistibility of taste. We’ve still held on to those cues, but the whole ‘Maal Andar Hai’ proposition is meant to distinguish the product.”

While chaat is fairly popular in North, West, and South of India, there are still pockets in Indian consumer landscape where the flavours are still underexposed. Bhasin explains that consumers often still roll with flavoured launches out of curiosity. “That doesn’t limit our approach on where we go and which consumers we speak to. The product is available across platforms including traditional and modern trade, e-comm and quick commerce, pan India.”

We remain invested in all channels, ensuring we are closer to consumers in whichever channels they want to buy from.

Geographical locations and backgrounds also play a pivotal role in determining consumer engagement with snacks. Bhasin points out that the food habits of a certain geographical location reflect how consumers engage with the snack category. “For example, in the South, you see a different variant of Kurkure in Masala Munch. We’re conscious of the regional differences in consumer taste.”

For Kurkure, the traditional channels still dominate the sales. However, the brand is seeing a spike in digital commerce, with e-comm and quick commerce taking significant strides. “We remain invested in all channels, ensuring we are closer to consumers in whichever channels they want to buy from.”

The core target group for the brand is the youth, while consumers from other demographics are also part of the larger mix. “We come in different variants, flavours, crunches, so the approach is wide. (But our core target) is the Indian youth.”

The media mix for the brand is still based on mass reach channels, with an emphasis on digital as well. “We’ve realised the emergence of digital, and its effectiveness in personalising our content and targeting our audience. Our media mix consists of all these channels, with different clear roles marked up against each of them in our overall strategy.”

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