Exclusive | Urging India to get in shape, Zydus Wellness' Elkana Ezekiel

It is rightly said, ‘Health is Wealth’ and it is very important for people to sincerely become health conscious. With today’s fast paced lifestyle, being mentally and physically fit should be one of the priorities for every individual of our country. Indeed a majority of people have started taking their health issues quite seriously.

Looking at the growing needs and demands of the consumers every brand is working avidly towards developing products that hit the right chord. One of the oldest names that has always tried to cater to the evolving health and wellness sector is Zydus Wellness Ltd which is a subsidiary of Cadila Healthcare Limited.

With a strong presence in the sugar substitute market, table spreads and the skin care segment, Zydus Welness’ Sugar Free is a market leader with a market share of around 92%. Having been targeting health and fitness seekers apart from diabetics, from more than two decades, Sugar Free is available in pellet, powder and liquid formats.

To get a deeper and a better understanding, Adgully caught up with Elkana Ezekiel, ‎Managing Director, Zydus Wellness who spoke about the brand’s growth, its marketing strategies and a lot more.

With an aim to champion the cause of healthier India, Sugarfree recently launched the ‘Get in Shape India’ campaign. The launch witnessed quite a healthy number of young and young-at-heart people to participate and compete with ex- army servicemen Major Vikram Mohan and ‘Sports Scientist’, celebrity trainer Shayamal Vallabhjee.

The event challenged the physical fitness and endurance levels of the participants with various fitness tests and sports activities, including paintball and cricket, to test their strength and stamina.

Recent initiative/ ‘Get in Shape India’ campaign:

Speaking about the campaign, Ezekiel said, “The aim is to make the people realise the importance of being fit and healthy. A cross- section of nutritionists, dieticians, celebrities and fitness experts are equal stakeholders in this initiative to keep us all fighting fit. Sedentary lifestyle, junk food, and other factors like excessive sugar consumption are leading to an unhealthy India. As a brand, SugarFree is committed to promoting the fitness and health of its consumers and offering them products that fully meet their health needs and expectations."

Since Sugarfree is one niche and premium brand, the idea was to grab attention with a differentiated technique and hence the brief given to the agency was ‘to get India in shape as this is the right time.’ Elaborating further, he said, “The objective of the campaign is to spread awareness about the growing health issues and to make sure that every individual gets to know the intricacies of not taking care of his/her health.”

A lot of market research goes as and when a brand works on launching a campaign so as to find out the need gap in the market. “Whenever we design a communication plan or a campaign we first test it with our consumers by different mediums to understand whether the message that we intend to communicate is right or not and will it be perceived in the right way or not,” he added.

Growth of the brand:

Sugarfree has been successfully catering to the ever changing needs of the consumers from the last 25 odd years. Though initially, there was need for the brand Sugarfree to bring to the attention of the consumers the benefits that it brought for them. Over the years the brand has won the confidence of the consumers and slowly and steadily carved a niche for itself in the Rs 300 Crore industry. When asked about the brand’s growth in the year gone by, he said, “The year gone by had performed really well in our favour. With fairly loyal consumer base and healthy competition in the market, we have been successfully achieving 90% plus market share from the last 5 consecutive years.” 

Challenges Then and Now:

As mentioned above, Sugarfree took some time initially to break through the clutter and faced quite a few challenges. In fact Ezekiel told us that the challenges still remain the same. “Even today at times, it is pretty difficult for a brand like us to make the consumers understand its quality and vision. The point of inflection is yet to come hence we still have consumers who find it difficult to digest the fact that Sugarfree is the substitute to sugar.” he said.

According to Ezekiel the category is sizable which is about Rs. 300 Crore but only 15 percent of the A&B Urban households use this product within which Sugarfree stands tall with 92 percent market share. He said, “This category is quite niche and not like other products like Soaps or toothbrush etc, wherein 99 percent of households use the product. No matter how much people have become conscious about their health, convincing them about something like this is still a challenging task,” he added. 

Marketing strategies:

Sugarfree has always spent huge mullah on television followed by Print and Radio but interestingly, for the ‘Get in Shape India’ campaign the brand is all set to take a diverse route. The campaign is primarily going to be driven through digital. Elaborating further he said, “Historically, we have been using traditional media quite literally but this time since the target audience that we are reaching out to with this campaign is believed to be loyal to digital media hence we have released the campaign online first and then if need be we will take to other forms of communication..”  

As told by Ezekiel the brand has received positive results with all its marketing strategies and is keeping its expectation high with this route too. Speaking about the digital marketing scenario in India, he said, “Digital marketing is growing rapidly in India and we see a lot of brands utilizing this medium. Digital helps a brand reach out to its target audience in a much closer way and that too at a lower cost. It helps the brand to tell an in-depth story about itself and also gives us an opportunity to engage with our consumers patiently.”    

Other Brands from the bouquet:

Not only that people want to be fit but they also want to look attractive. Catering to that ever changing and evolving demand, Zydus Wellness has another brand in the skincare segment, Everyuth Naturals that occupies the unique distinction of being a ‘skincare brand from a healthcare and wellness company.

Enriched with the goodness of natural ingredients and powered with Nano actives, Everyuth enjoys market leadership in skincare segments like face masks and scrubs and has a strong position in the face wash segment as well.

Zydus Wellness acquired Nutralite couple of years ago and after revamping the product completely, Nutralite became the market leader in the Table Spread category. Appealing to consumers looking for healthier alternatives to normal butter, it is cholesterol free and does not contain any hydrogenated fats and is also trans-fat free.

While signing off, Ezekiel said, “Apart from Sugarfree, Nutralite and Everyouth have also been growing and acquiring desired market share. Our respective teams are leaving no stone unturned to add as many consumers as possible.” | By Aanchal Kohli | Twitter: @aanchalkohli



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