Food Habits

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Changing Habits: Finding a New Recipe for Success in India's Food Markets: India Knowledge@Wharton


Horlicks is leading to a lot of trials." Foodles comes with the punch line of "Noodles without the 'No'":

Available only in the multi-grain and wheat variant, the product is being promoted as having higher

nutritional value compared to other popular brands. The main unique selling proposition (USP) of

Foodles is the vitamin-packed health-maker sachet that comes with the pack. According to Sen the initial

response to Foodles (launched in December 2009) is "much higher than GSK's expectations."

Like GSK, which is riding piggyback on the Horlicks brand equity and the health plank, Hindustan

Unilever (HUL) is using the strength of its Knorr brand -- already popular for its soups range -- to muscle

its way into the instant noodles category.

Market estimates put the instant noodles sector in the country currently at around Rs. 1,300 crore

(US$288 million) and growing at around 15% to 20% annually. According to news reports quoting

market research firm Nielsen, on an all-India basis across urban markets, Maggi has been steadily losing

market share to the new entrants. From a 90.7% market share in December 2009, Maggi slipped to 86.5%

in July of last year. Nielsen was not willing to share more recent data with India Knowledge@Wharton,

but industry watchers like Harminder Sahni, managing director of Wazir Consultants, a firm that focuses

on brands and the retail space, say that it is likely that Maggi's share would have fallen further in the

recent months.

Nestle, of course, is not keeping quiet and has upped its tempo. It has been widening its product range

with new flavors and new variants. While its hot-selling variant continues to be of refined wheat flour,

Maggi too has jumped onto the health platform with whole wheat and multi-grain offerings. Also, unlike

earlier, when Maggi was...