Pooja Yadav

Modaks, rotis, dosas; Nutella is going desi

Zoher Kapuswala, marketing head, Nutella, Ferrero India, explains the Italian brand’s plans for India.

In western cultures, people prefer pancakes, waffles and French toast for breakfast. In India, it’s mostly about paranthas, idli and dosa. Nutella, a brand of sweetened hazelnut cocoa spread, has always been a big hit in western cultures. It’s commonly used as a topping on toast, pancakes, waffles and desserts. The brand is now trying to grow its presence in the Indian market.

So, how does it plan to do so?

Zoher Kapuswala, marketing head, Nutella, Ferrero India, shares, “Nutella hasn’t traditionally been a common breakfast item in India, but its popularity has been growing in recent years due to globalisation and increased exposure to western food trends. There are several occasions when Nutella can be consumed. It can be consumed with local breads, such as rotis, paranthas and even dosas.”

“Beyond breakfast, which forms the core proposition, Nutella can be enjoyed during festivals and celebrations as a special treat. For example, during Diwali or Christmas, people can pair Nutella with homemade sweets, pastries or desserts.”

As per the brand, the chocolate spread market is still at a nascent stage. Nutella can be a part of Indian consumers’ seasonal delicacies, like laddoos, modaks, Christmas cake, etc.

“We will create new consumption occasions with our seasonal approach,” states Kapuswala.

According to a Research and Markets overview of India’s sweet spread (honey, jams, jellies & preserve, and chocolate) market, it is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 14% during the 2022-28 forecast period.

“The spreads category has witnessed decent growth over the last few years, due to the increase in consumption at home. It is expected to grow faster now that the families are staying together, more than ever. Our growth, so far, has been in line with that of the chocolate spreads category. This category is witnessing new entrants and the outlook is quite healthy. We aim to build a strong growth momentum for Nutella and gain a share from this growth,” mentions Kapuswala.

Manufactured by the Italian company Ferrero, Nutella was first introduced in 1964. The brand was launched in India in 2010. The Ferrero Group, which sells brands such as Ferrero Rocher, Kinder and Tic Tac, other than Nutella, is one of the world’s largest sweet-packaged food companies, with over 35 brands sold in 170-plus countries.

Speaking about the brand’s journey in India so far, Kapuswala says, “Nutella has been a part of our product portfolio in the country for quite some time. But it has only been over the last two years that we have witnessed 2x growth. We have moved on from a modern trade brand to traditional as well as e-commerce brand.”

Recipe-led innovations

The brand recently launched ‘Nutella Back to School’ campaign, ahead of the new academic year. From chef Vikas Khanna’s innovative vegetarian French toast recipe, to tapping the creative hats of kids through engaging DIY videos and more, the campaign features a range of activities specially curated to make going back to school engaging for kids as well as their parents.

Khanna’s special veg French toast recipe, features Nutella. The recipe provides a twist to the traditional French toast, making it a breakfast or lunch option for children. As per the brand, the activation of this recipe will encourage parents and children to explore the versatility of Nutella.

“We aim to make it the number one tiffin recipe in the years to come. We want to make this new ritual of going to school, quite enjoyable and exciting. We partnered with Khanna and other influencers, who add magic to the entire gamut of the tiffin recipes for kids. The collaboration will help parents to come up with innovative and convenient snack ideas that are both nutritious and delicious, and can become a part of a kid’s tiffin routine,” mentions Kapuswala.

“Khanna has a lot of credibility in the culinary space. He’s a known face and a key judge on ‘MasterChef India’.”

The three DIY videos encompass various themes with Nutella jar, offering children a chance to explore their artistic side, while enjoying their favourite hazelnut spread. The campaign is currently live on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and OTT platforms.

Apart from Khanna, the brand is also working with local and regional micro-influencers. “We’re working with 3-4 influencers, one from each geography, to get local recipe nuances,” informs Kapuswala.

Digital over TV

It’s becoming quite difficult to catch the consumers on TV, as per the brand. This is where the influencers come in. Digital provides more flexibility to the brand to have the right content strategy, customise the content, etc. 60% plus of the brand’s media spends, go towards digital, while the rest goes towards TV, mentions Kapuswala.

“One part is where we use YouTube, Instagram and digital platforms for awareness purposes. Social posts help to build more engagement. One leg of our influencer strategy is to catch those consumers who’re moving away from TV. The other part is catching them for building awareness and engagement,” shares Kapuswala.

As a part of its digital strategy, Ferrero roped in actor Ranveer Singh as its brand ambassador. The company made the announcement in collaboration with Singh’s social media pages, through an entertaining video, where he’s seen engaging in a rapid-fire round on ‘what comes to my mind when….’ and proclaims his love for the brand.

Singh promotes the brand across digital and offline marketing channels. He’s been an active part of the brand’s various campaigns.

Nutella is an expensive product, as compared to other chocolate spreads by competitors like Cadbury, Hershey, etc. So, how does a premium product like this position itself in India?

“Yes, the product is expensive, but 50% of our consumers are below 33 years of age. Young people like to experience new things and don’t think twice about spending on good quality products. Also, Premium (products) consuming class is everywhere - in every city and even in a smaller town. Even a town like Satara (in Maharashtra) has five stores that are decked up with premium products,” says Kapuswala.

The brand also has products like Nutella Ferrero Biscuits, Nutella with Malted bread Sticks, Biscuit Cookies, Nutella - B-Ready Wafer, in India that are available on Amazon, Flipkart, BigBasket and Blinkit.

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