A strategic provocation around breakfast/Mini-meal
A strategic provocation around the mini-meal/breakfast opportunity in India (especially the heartlands and small towns).
Brands like Kellogg's, Saffola, Quaker etc; can capitalise on a few opportunities arising around the break-fast and mini-meal occasion.
The battle of health vs time-crunch is becoming bigger! Indianising the product (ala Mc Donalds) & others is a very important and also launching economy SKU's is also very important (Snickers had done a good job of launching a 5rupee hungry bar).
A strategic provocation around breakfast/Mini-meal
A strategic provocation around the breakfast/mini-meal
The Breakfast opportunity: Increasing pressure on mum’s to keep-up with the growing
education & extra curricular needs of the children, the more practical nature of classes in
school, more science exhibition participation and more craft projects is increasing her
involvement and decreasing the time she has at hand. Added to this liberation and a
seepage of more western attitudes has given birth to the new need for their own space &
time (mostly TV serial watching, even internet surfing at home in the afternoons) has
made their everyday schedule even tighter. In the heartlands, especially in the joint
families and even in the nuclear families this has led to a unique phenomenon. (1)
Children: While breakfast is fed to the children at home and the lunch-box is packed, the
first interval tiffin/snack is being bought by the kid outside. Some or the other fried local
tiffin (snack) that is appealing to the kid of that age (if we do a taste palette Vs age
mapping of Andhra tiffins – then fried snacks like bonda, dosa, bajji etc; appeal to
children. Only when they enter the blander life/blander taste palette age of 30+ do you
really start taking to blander food. Though mums do make a spicy chutney to make Idli,
upma etc; more interesting for children). This mapping also shows why Quaker oats
(though has made a good innovation with its flavors & trying to keep the interest going
and hence increasing occasions per week) which is so similar to upma will have a huge
problem with occupying the morning breakfast occasion with kids. In most Andhra
families I have seen, kids are the enter of attention and mostly food is made for them
(along with the tastes of the father in mind, even if it is a joint family the grand parents
give primary importance to kids – where as in Uttar Pradesh it is much more of a
democratic mix, with the grown-up men being given the primary preference and also the
However this increasing pressure on the mother’s time is leading to husbands being asked
to go out and get their morning breakfast (which they are more than glad to do as they get
more variety and a chance to go catch-up with their colony/area friends and indulge in
male gossip and a cutely-grave discussion on matters of the world and hence feel more
The class-room first break, interval-tiffin and the men’s morning breakfast and sometimes
the kids breakfast is the opportunity for brands.
Though the mother is having to do this, there is an inherent guilt that rides in her about
not making the food herself or eating it herself. Apart from this there are quite a few
shrewd commentators in the male circle and the female circle who actually pass ribbing
dialogues like “oh! No.. ladies are becoming sooo busy now-a-days, they don’t even
make food at home. It’s all kalyug tch! Tch!”. This further adds social pressure on the
What she is okay with is giving them high-quality food that is easy to make and serve
their children as well as husbands. However she has to have something to do in that role.
If it is just picking-up and pouring out of a packet then it is as good as them eating outside
in her head. Hence she needs to in the least stir something and add her touch. Usually that
is the reason why most mothers actually top-up and add their touch to have a sense of
ownership around it (if you are marketer or advertising person reading this – then perhaps
you can equate it to your junior or somebody doing a presentation deck and you making a
few changes to get that sense of ownership – with that example I hope now you can relate
better to the mother and her feelings around this issue).
On finding this, when I spoke to mothers about cereals and other such stuff, I was
surprised with some of the insights. In order for kelloggs to try and substitute the
breakfast at least a few times a week, they need to take the perceived gravitas of cereals
up in the consumer’s head. Apart from iron Shakti and the flavours and all the bears and
balloons, it needs to Indianise and make them feel that this is a richer meal.
The mother’s sense of guilt can only be replaced with a certain product gravitas “wajan”
as they call it in Hindi. This seems possible by Indianising and adding some Indian
ingredients to the cereal mix. Some of the ingredients that have been thrown-up by
mothers in my conversations (with grandmothers stepping in with their nuskas – tips too)
Badam (almond), Kaju (casehwnuts), Kishmish (dry grapes – which kids love),
Kumkuma puvvu (saffron) and few other natural ingredients with hints of Ayurveda –
which increase immunity, increase focus & attention and mental absorption.
Now this kind of a mix immediately justifies the replacement in the mothers mind from a
lot of angles:
1. It is not something she can make at home, yet is so rich that it is actually
perceived better than the normal Indian breakfasts. Hence she is rid of any guilt of
not making it herself.
2. The Indianising of ingredients makes it less foreign as a food and hence finds
deep-seated cultural resonance and relevance. Hence it is potent mix of the
formulas of the allopathic west and the ayurvedic India.
3. It also suddenly becomes both an adult (husband) and child friendly morning
start-up meal. As a lot of Indian wives do give a few almonds and cashews to
their husband and children in the morning. These are usually kept in water to
soften-up for a while before being served.
4. To further appease the mother by letting her do the top-up etc; kind of fulfilling
her role kind of an act, communication developed (especially in social media)can
actually talk about adding everyday fruits to it and even throw some bright red
cherries (to please kids) and different fruit for different day. Which keeps the
variety going. The absolute and abysmal lack of use of social media for these kind
of frequent engagement activities is surprising.
5. The addition of memory enhancing, energy giving, non-oily and non-fat
ingredients suddenly roots it to the pre-school going meal and hence will be very
well received. Fast, focused and energetic for the children at school and the
husband at work is a good story for brands to communicate to mothers.
6. Additional communication of this pack of cereals also working as an evening
after school and before play/tuition mini-meal if communicated to the mother
justifies the box purchase. It will make her feel like an any occasion ready
mother”. This multiple occasion usability further justifies the packs presence in
the shopping cart at the beginning of the month as well as in the kitchen shelf.
Cereals especially are had with milk and giving milk is a natural habit in most
India households – hence better advantage should be taken of riding on the
goodness of milk. Aiming to take share from milk-additives and also fortified
milk is a good approach. But unlike either additives or fortified milk itself the
visible presence of almonds, cashews, saffron and kishmish is possible only in
cereals (others will have to claim them being powdered and being mixed into the
bottle and cue it in communication laboriously as well – cereal brands can even
take a potshot at powders on this aspect). In the Indian cultural “tangible” is a
huge socio-cultural need. This is predominantly the reason why we have millions
of gods. Each god also is contextualized and then a separate symbol is created for
that particular context (example: dhana-lakshmi, dhanya-lakshmi, Vijaya-
Lakshmi, Vidya-Lakshmi etc;). Hence it is good not to underestimate the power
of visible during consumption ingredients and differentiate at a product level.
Note on porridge & oats: Most of the principles discussed above do apply to these as
well. However they have a specific problem. Mothers believe that at the moment of
consumption oats based porridge etc. are just like upma. The flavors are also Indian,
which makes it even more like upma. Upma is very easy to make mind you and is
considered by the rest of the consuming household as a boring and easy-to-make tiffin
item. One house wife actually said “atleast upma is compatible with chutney which my
husband or children like”. Now there is no point in jumping and porridge compatible with
chutney/pickle (it will further kill it – as it will become even more of an upma). Rather
deliver the format in which upma cannot compete. If possible innovate with Chinese
flavors or continental flavors and make it actually like the fast food tat kids die to eat
outside – but with this being a much healthier alternative.
NOTE: A cereal bar for the tiffin interval or any-time hunger pangs filler with goodness
of nutrients is another opportunity. Key visuals: Snack bar being placed in the tiffin box
for either the interval snack, any-time hunger pang or pre-playing/sport snack.
Also no need to stick to bears and other such creatures. Brands do need to wake-up
steal/borrow from the happy meal concept and capitalize on the success and popularity of
chota bheem, bal hanuman etc;. Both characters stand for strength, courage and bravery –
which suits these brands well. So please do toy around with that idea as well.
This is how you would be mutually profitable. Better than outside food and yet relevant
and healthier. Brand and consumer benefit mutually.
In the next blog: “emergence of the curry point & impact of TV and urban migration”.
(1) The cereals which appeal to the diet-conscious women who want to lose
weight is a nice way of taking share/driving consumption by riding on diet-trend
need to drive better (if at all they are doing it in the first place) health
center/dietician activation just like pharma companies do. Also most people have
a variety when they diet from fruits and vegetables to sabudana wadas,
makhaney (puffed lotus seeds), rajgira atta ka brads etc;. So they need to realize
they are always going to be part of a diet repertoire. Hence it is advisable to take
communication leadership and take custodianship of te entire diet repertoire and
surgically place/include kellogs in the same. A lot of people also go to the web
and download the GM diet etc;. Where is the Kellog’s diet equivalent, where is
the optimisation of social media. Where is the complete consumer engagement
strategy. In all my chats across Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, parts of
Tamilnadu and even Mumbai – none of 10odd dieticians that I met have Kellog’s
visiting or activating them. For complete communication engagement
(2) Empirical proof for one of the sub-points I made in the blog above regarding
inclusion of nuts up-ages a product and makes it appeal to adults also. Please do
check with any marketer of Cadbury chocolates or Snickers etc;. In their range
inclusion of nuts, center-fills and bitter are the taste that makes chocolate
consumption go adult. So by all means “go nuts” to make the pack of cereal a
Source: Consumer & cultural Immersions from #stratalogues Andhra Pradesh & Uttar