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February 25, 2011

Food Marketing - India

India is a country of more than a billion. It is said that in India the food, the culture, the language, the customs, the soil change every twenty kilometers. There is diversity in everything about India. We have meat eaters  who swear by their food habits at one end of the spectrum to Jains who wear a cloth over their nose (they believe that even small insects should not be killed during inhalation of air) at the other.

Chicken Tikka Masala
But   surprisingly  in the Food category India has not exported its dishes as well as it should have. CTM  (Chicken Tikka Masala) the very Indian sounding dish is not Indian by origin. It is patented in the UK. United Kingdom holds Indian food in high esteem. Curry is so famous that trying up to be overtly friendly is called “currying up”.

Indian food is not packaged very well. Indian sweet dishes like the laddus though tasty are crudely circular (have no exact shape) and show traces of physical handling. The Pedas and other North Indian food stylishly cut in the form of squares and diamonds with a silver foil on the top have a better chance of finding universal acceptance. Indians should also  take cue from the cookie queen in USA who tried the sampling method of sales promotion for many years before her brand of cookies were accepted  by the public.

Also food habits take time to change. Indian food manufacturers  have to believe in themselves and their products and stay the course. Food is a horse for the long distance. It takes time for the market to accept the products. Once accepted the sales could just zoom.

Samosa and Papad
One of the products that could do well is the Samosa, (triangular) the deep fried patty like snack. Salty and filled with potato, it could give  a scare to the burger. But packaging should be taken care off. The humble papad (circular) has already proved to be popular in Russia. It could be promoted as a very light snack that could go well with salads. It needs to be roasted lightly or micro waved. The feeling of stickiness or oiliness would put off the calorie conscious westerners.

Some Indian food is simply out of the world. Foreigners have to be educated on the way to eat Indian food. Indian government had held India International melas in the past. One such mela in Paris reported a very strange sight. Parisian were gobbling up Dosa along with Gulab Jamoons.

Gulab Jamoon
For the uninitiated Dosa is like a burrito and it has to be eaten with a chutney ( a hot side dish like hot sauce). Gulab Jamoon is a sweet and is consumed at the end of the meal.

Jilebi  and Tea

Why blame the westerners. Indians have problems with their own food. Unlike in North, south Indians do not consume  sweets at breakfast. A visitor in North India would be served Tea and Jilebi (a sweet dish).  A south Indian is struck, Eating the Jilebi before the tea would make tea tasteless and having tea before eating the Jilebi would mean that Jilebi would taste like tea!

1 comment:

  1. Rightly said sir still food market of India is unorganized and it has lot of potential for us.If we are able to develop brand for these products then surely we can see McDonald's(or any other food retial chain) sales coming down because of samosa,dosa etc.