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Saffola Oats consolidates market presence with 17.50% share

For a company offering a leading healthy lifestyle brand, offering a healthy food option is a natural transition. With this strong belief, Marico’s Saffola brand which is an established player entered into the breakfast cereals category by introducing Saffola Oats in 2010. In a short span of time, Saffola Oats has done exceptionally well, achieving a 17.5 per cent value market share and a number two player in the oats category nationally.

In 2012, Marico further launched Saffola Masala Oats with an aim of capturing a bigger market share. Speaking to Adgully, Sameer Satpathy, Business Head, Marico India says, “We realized that the consumer sees health and taste at the opposite ends of the spectrum, consuming healthy means a compromise in taste and vice versa. Hence, our R&D team was given a simple brief, How can we make oats not just acceptable to, but relished by Indians? With this aim, Saffola Masala Oats was launched nationally and now offers a bouquet of six flavors namely–Veggie Twist, Peppy Tomato and Classic Masala for North, West, and East market and Masala & Coriander, Curry and Pepper, Pepper & Spice and Veggie Twist for South market.”

The company’s objective was to arrive at a product that could be cooked in no time and consumed as an entire meal by itself, satisfying all the needs of a consumer from breakfast – taste, health and convenience. However, says Satpathy, “the challenge was to get a ‘universal tasting’ product keeping regional nuances in consideration. For Saffola Masala Oats for instance the Indian taste preferences across regions were decoded and a common thread was identified which gave us a universal appeal. We realized that Indians are used to a very ‘masala’ sort of taste palette and came up with Saffola Masala Oats – a product that brought together the goodness of oats along with a dash of masala and vegetables.” Saffola was the first in the country to launch Savory Oats which is now available in six flavors customized to suit the taste of different regions in the country.

So what has really helped Saffola gain a competitive edge in the nascent oat breakfast category?

It is Saffola’s established equity in the heart care space which has been undisputed over the years and has helped determine the brand as a credible player in the oat’s category as well. Avers Satpathy, “We noticed that our first venture into the breakfast category was well received given the brand confidence we deliver. Also, our first mover advantage of innovating within this category and appealing to the savory palate, appeased the Indian consumer, gave Marico a competitive edge in the market.”

Saffola has been actively engaging with its consumers on the online and social media platforms. One of the key tools that Saffola has been using is the ‘Saffolalife Heart Age Finder’  on saffolalife.com. This has helped find an individual’s heart age as compared to his/her actual age over the years in India. The findings from this survey result into the ‘Saffolalife Study,’ which is the largest Heart related survey in India. The study is analyzed based on responses received from the Saffolalife Heart Age finder, boasts of a large sample base of 1.1 lakhs Indians currently. The Saffolalife Study offers a deeper understanding into the reasons behind the ailing heart health of Indians. The large sample size also tends to present insightful inferences based on different geographies within the country across diverse age groups. Saffolalife also engages with its consumers regularly on popular social media platforms like Facebook.

The size of the breakfast cereal market in India is about Rs 605 crores and is growing at about 27 per cent. The estimated size of the Oats category in India is Rs 183 crores. The other main players in this category are Quaker Oats, Bagrry’s Oats amongst others. Besides offering Oats and Masala Oats, Saffola has strengthened its position in the breakfast category by introducing Saffola Muesli. The product is available in three variants namely Nutty Crunch, Fruit Rush, Lite n Natural.

Marico is now looking at products with different propositions and which exceed consumer expectations as it plans to expand in the breakfast cereals market. “We will continue to innovate in the packaged food space and will keep exploring areas that are in sync with the brand and our overall business. To popularize our Breakfast offerings we are undertaking the following marketing initiatives: Through constant innovation we are attempting to make it easier & sustainable for the consumers to adopt health in their daily diet and therefore we introduced Saffola Masala Oats. Driving relevance of our products in the consumer’s life though on-ground activations with local celebrity chefs, festival-themed cooking shows, trial packs, in-store promotions and sampling,” concludes Satpathy.

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