Thursday, August 16, 2007
Of Yoga and the Snack-food market
Of ‘Dahi Bhalla’ and Organized Retail
By Harish Bijoor
Q: How transferable are Western ideas, products, and business models
into emerging markets like
The western idea is welcome, but the idea needs to be morphed to adopt an avatar that is completely acceptable to the local mind and mood of the consumer.
Early MNC entrants in the category of footwear realized this to their utter surprise. What they had worked beautifully in
2. Can you think of some Indian brands that are poised to make a mark globally?
-Swati Menon, Mumbai
Swati, let me think!
Take Yoga. It is doing well.
I can't think of too many brands from the manufacturing sector though. For the past sixty years we have flogged the "Made in
I do believe we can cause for and create a truly Indian offering in aviation space. Jet Airways can surely compete in this space. And so can Kingfisher in the future!
Q: I am just about to join a savory snacks major who has big ambitions for
Rajeev-sir, yes you may!
The savory snacks market then.
This has evolved over the years. Every new MNC entrant (do we call them that
anymore?) is actually upgrading from local taste profiles.
The 'Bhujia' market is largely sewed in by Haldirams and Bikanerwala and a
host of local players much smaller than these two as well.
Some insights (call it ‘gyan’ if you will), I believe in personally:
1. Snack-food upgrades need to largely keep in tune with the existing market
and its taste. Even a Lay's chip has to have the profile of 'Chaat' as a taste
variant if it is to attempt to be relevant to the local consumer.
2. There is a generic possibility of upgrading from wet snacks in the market
like 'Chaat', 'Dahi Bhalla' and even medium-wet snacks such as 'Kachoris' and
samaras in the market to dry [packaged versions. These snacks will need to
maintain taste profiles intact, but can offer product variants that are
different....for instance hard dough items that taste like 'chaat'....but keep
longer. The USP of this category is all about hygiene and consistency in
3. There is a possible market for the baked savory, just as long as it is
not advertised to be baked. The moment you do that, there is alienation in
the market. Health is an issue and a non-issue in the market at the same
Consumers know a low fat crispy is good for the heart.........but really
don't prefer it, unless advised by the doctor with a threat.
Q: Retail is a growing industry. What’s real and what’s hype?
-Shiny George, Mumbai
A: Shiny, good question and good timing.
We are just about going through the birth pangs of organized retail in this county or ours. This is really the nascent stage of organized retail. At this stage, every player in the market is out to create all the hype there is necessary to create in the category.
I do believe organized retail has a larger than life image in the country as of now. The media is engrossed in this category as well. It makes for sexy copy!
The reality is that the size of retail needs to be defined before we get excited about it or put off by it. The secret lies in the numbers.
Trillion USD in the retail segment.
market. However, the important point to note is that in
largely disaggregated. 98.3 per cent of all trade in this country is handled
by the small shop-keeper. Only 1.7 per cent of businesses are with the large
The growth prognosis for this industry is as varied as the vested interest
in the category touting the growth percentage.
There are numbers that are pessimistic and put organized segment retail
growth at 4 per cent per annum. And then there are numbers that predict an 18
per cent growth per annum!!!!
Whatever happens, fact of the matter lies in the reality that small retail will not get flushed out of this country in the next 25 years for sure. The “small is beautiful” model works well for this country.
Harish Bijoor is a business strategy specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.
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