Shreyas Kulkarni
Marketing

Voltas Beko refrigerators claim to keep vegetables fresh up to 30 days... what's cooking?

Will this claim bolster bulk buying, and will consumers buy what Voltas Beko is selling?

The COVID pandemic has intensified our need for everything healthy and fresh, including the vegetables in our refrigerators. Not that it was any different earlier, but now, as we don’t want to step outside our homes to buy vegetables week after week, we want our greens to stay fresh for a longer period. On an average, one usually stores vegetables in refrigerators for a week.

Well, now you can store your favourite vegetables in a refrigerator for as long as 30 days and they’ll still remain fresh. In 2018, Voltas Beko, a kitchen appliances brand under the Tata conglomerate, announced that its refrigerators now come fitted with “NEOFROST™ Dual Cooling and StoreFresh™ that keep fruits and vegetables fresh for 30 days.”

Old ad

On Voltas Beko’s website, a descriptor reads, “… By minimising temperature fluctuations and keeping moisture levels steady, it keeps your food crisp and healthy. This is even more important in India, where weather can change quite quickly…”

New ad

In October, Voltas Beko released a new ad on the same lines... “StoreFresh™ technology keeps your fruits and vegetables fresh for up to 30 days!” In both the old and new ad messaging, the brand ran the hashtag #TestedByRealMoms.

Amar Wadhwa
Amar Wadhwa

“… In the absence of any research validating the time frame of the claim, this ad may, perhaps, even be asked by ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) to explain the basis of the claim,” said Amar Wadhwa, founder and executive director, CrystalEyes, a brand and marketing consultancy. He told afaqs! about an old Samsung ad (2009), which ASCI had hauled up because it claimed a UV-type light in the fruit and vegetable tray which helped them grow…

What’s interesting to note is Voltas Beko’s decision to roll out the ad at this time, when India has `unlocked’. To say you can store vegetables for 30 days, in some way, harks back to the start of the COVID-induced lockdown, when people purchased vegetables in bulk under the guise of panic buying.

Gauri Chaudhari
Gauri Chaudhari

“... habits that bring convenience at an affordable price tend to stay. Buying vegetables in bulk is one such habit that may stay if you have a good storing/ refrigerating facility,” says Gauri Chaudhari, co-founder, Brand Innerword, a healthcare brand consultancy.

Referring to the lockdown, she that said housing society residents bought fruits and veggies directly from the farmers. Also, as the direct farm-to-home supply could not happen every day but only on weekends, homemakers had no option, but to store them meticulously till the next delivery came.

The weary washers

The pandemic has left us weary in many ways, and one of it was the frequent washing of vegetables (much more than pre-pandemic levels). But, now a refrigerator can keep the veggies fresh for 30 days… So, you can now buy a bag full of greens and stock it inside the Voltas Beko?

Said Wadhwa, “My sense is that it (the claim of veggies staying fresh for 30 days) will be seen as incredulous by many, even though the ads are trying hard to show that the claim is tested by real mothers.”

Adds Chaudhari, “… families go to buy veggies and fruits from the market. They don’t like to go every day and expose themselves to the risk of infection. Again, bulk buying is the solution.”

Will it sell?

We (afaqs!) wondered if this proposition will sell, because it stands to solve a lot of problems, in terms of vegetable storage and freshness. Wadhwa remarked that most consumers will find freshness a very relevant proposition, given that in our country, the weather conditions can be such that things go bad in no time, “I think a 30-day freshness claim may not be digested too well by consumers.”

“There is no freshness quotient on which the claim can be evaluated. So, just saying it in an ad is not enough,” said Chaudhari, adding that one needs to see online reviews, conversations on social media, opinion of food bloggers/influencers… Buying a refrigerator is a high involvement decision and the ad will push the customer journey from `awareness’ to `ask’, but may not necessarily help the consumer to `act’ (buy).

Did Voltas Beko push the ad because its rivals had nabbed the space around keeping cooked and frozen food fresh for a long time? Turns out that Voltas Beko’s rivals seem to be chilling on similar lines.

Panasonic refrigerators claim its AG filter keeps the food fresh and healthy (the ad shows a timer for freshness that continues till seven days). In 2019, LG said its refrigerators LINEAR Cooling™ will keep fruits and vegetables fresh for up to 14 days. On the other hand, Whirlpool's refrigerator comes with IntelliFresh Pro that keeps food fresh up to 15 days.