Namah Chawla

We spend more money on packaging than marketing: 4700BC’s Chirag Gupta

The PVR-backed popcorn brand recently launched ready-to-eat sweet corn for on-the-go consumers looking for healthy snacking options.

Be it the unbranded roadside bhutta or the branded frozen corns, sweet corn makes for a healthy snacking option. However, earlier, it was never seen as on-the-go or ready-to-eat snack that is ideal for the fast-paced lives of consumers.

Premium snacking brand 4700BC Popcorn recently launched a ready-to-eat sweet corn that aims to be a healthy and hassle-free snacking option. According to 4700BC’s co-founder, Chirag Gupta, no other player in the Indian market was offering ready-to-eat sweet corns when they decided to launch the product.

“We are not doing anything new with sweet corns, but just marrying the concept of ready-to-eat with it. So, it is a packaging and marketing innovation than product innovation,” adds Gupta.

The ready-to-eat sweet corn is available in flavours like Lemon Pepper, Barbeque, Natural and Butter to cater to different taste preferences. The product comes in retort packaging that retains moisture and keeps the corn fresh even without refrigeration. The pack is microwavable. The product has high fibre content, no preservatives, is non-GMO and gluten-free.

Since 4700BC is a premium snacking brand, so, as per Gupta, “Our TG is middle class and high income groups who have less time, are mostly on-the-go and looking for clean label snacks. Bottom-up approach needs more volume. It’s easier to come from top to bottom.”

In the past, 4700BC also launched ‘Protein Pops’ (makhanas). Gupta shares that the launch was something very close to their flagship product popcorns. The products had similar machines and the flavours were easy to replicate.

However, there are too many brands that were already providing basic quality packaged makhanas. 4700BC realised that there was no player providing a premium quality product. The name makhana was something that did not quite fit or suit a premium snack (product) from a long-term and global perspective. Hence, the brand decided to call it Protein Pops.

The packaging of 4700BC’s latest sweet corn offering is unique and something that the Indian market may not have seen before. The packaging of a product plays an important role in luring the consumers in to try it out.

We spend more money on packaging than marketing: 4700BC’s Chirag Gupta
We spend more money on packaging than marketing: 4700BC’s Chirag Gupta

Sharing the idea behind it, Gupta mentions, “Packaging is the most important aspect, as it takes care of 50% of a brand’s marketing. When a product is competing for shelf space and there are many brands kept there, packaging makes it stand out.”

“Packaging is the brand’s first consumer attraction point. If a consumer picks up the product and it is good, people will buy it again. But that first pick-up point is very important and that is where packaging plays a huge role. At 4700BC, we spend more money on packaging and probably less on marketing,” he adds.

In the healthy snacking category, there are many options available for the consumers today. They are spoilt for choice, hence, sticking to a product and bringing repeat consumers in can be a challenge.

Speaking about the rivals in the space, Gupta shares that the kind of products 4700BC launches, is its USP. Ultimately, that USP is what sells for the brand. So, whether it’s the product itself when the brand launched gourmet popcorns, or the whole premium aesthetic that it brought to makhanas, or the convenience it is trying to bring to sweet corns. Each of the brand’s products are built on a specific USP.

4700BC has also collaborated with OTT movies and shows like Sharmaji Namkeen, Modern Love Mumbai, and with T-series for Bhool Bhulaiya.

On how such branded content partnerships help 4700BC reach out to new consumers, Gupta says that the idea is to find brands with a similar target audience and collaborate with them.

“The attempt is to get new consumers to try the product. Associating with other brands or content is just a cheaper, smarter way of customer acquisition. As a part of our marketing spends, we will continue to do a lot of these collaborations. It is just customer acquisition cost for us,” he adds.

4700BC products are available across retail stores, modern trade and e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Swiggy. The brand also sells through its own D2C website. Institutional partnerships are also an important part of the brand’s distribution mix. These institutions include cinemas and airlines.

“As the brand grows, the focus will remain on e-commerce and retail channels. Whereas, the institution partnerships will act as a marketing and promotional channel,” informs Gupta.

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