Can flavoured & frozen yogurt replace the good ol’ dahi?

04 Apr,2012

By Preethi Chamikutty


Dahi that went abroad and came back. That’s how Swati Jain chooses to describe the latest flavour of the season: frozen and flavoured yoghurt.


“Flavoured is just a nomenclature,” said the head of marketing at Danone India, which recently forayed into the frozen category after debuting with the flavoured variety. Danone isn’t the only brand taking this more contemporary form of good old curd, or dahi, pan-India. Go Dahi, a frozen yogurt brand launched by Parag Milk Foods two years back, is now available in Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru.


And it has plans to enter North India. So what about east India then?


“Kolkata already has mishti doi!” says Devendra Shah, chairman, Parag Milk Foods very matter-of-factly. He goes on to say mishti doi is quite entrenched in West Bengal and making consumers there switch to frozen/flavoured yoghurt could be difficult.


It’s not just Kolkata that has a local variant of curd; Maharashtra has shrikand, Punjab lassi, Kerala taire and Tamilians still swear by curd rice.


Flavoured and frozen yogurt is a new food category to India, just two years young. The market for yoghurt of all types, including flavoured, frozen and regular curd, is pegged at almost Rs2,500 crore by euromonitor International – and one that grew 35 per cent in 2011.


Clamouring for a scoop of the action are a clutch of brands, from Parag Milk Foods’ Go and Amul Flaavyo of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF); to Nestle Real Fruit Yoghurt, Mother Dairy Yoghurt and Danone Cremix Yoghurt. The second set in this space include retails brands like Cocoberry, Red Mango, Kiwi Kiss and Yogurberry which sell flavoured/frozen yoghurt through exclusive outlets that only stock the respective brands.


Most non-retail brands are using modern trade, institutions, college, school and office canteens, airlines, five-star hotels and independent kiosks to reach out to its potential consumers. Danone is also looking at kirana stores to reach customers and Jain says they provide Danone coolers to shops for stocking products. The target customers are young, urban and health-conscious people. Ms Jain of Danone points out: “Women tend to pick it up more than men, as psychographically they are more health conscious than men.”


Adds GCMMF managing director, RS Sodhi: “This is a new product category being adopted by middle and upper middle class people who are health-conscious.” Nestle is trying to position its yoghurt as an ‘anytime nourishing snack.’ Kumaran Nowuram, general manager – dairy, Nestle India, says: ” Consumers consider flavoured yoghurt a western concept and, as they do not quite understand it, there really is no specific consumption pattern yet.” Nestle Real Fruit yoghurt has been available in the market for the past few years and the brand will soon add Junior Daheez (for children) and Fruit Daheez to its portfolio.


These are still early days of trial and error. For instance, Go has withdrawn its banana variant for lack of adoption. Mango, strawberry and pineapple variants, which are common to all brands, are finding takers. Mother Dairy also has yoghurt in raspberry, blueberry and plum flavours.


Munish Soni, DGM marketing at Mother Dairy’s dairy products division, says blueberry is quite popular among its customers. The retail brands have a larger range of flavours – as many as eight in the case of Cocoberry. Cocoberry also offers the largest pack size of 300 gm and even provides the option of home-delivery. Go, says Shah, will soon launch a 400 gm pack.


The way forward clearly is to grab share from other snacks and desserts. Ina Dawer, research analyst at euromonitor International, says: “Frozen yogurt has already started to replace ice cream to a certain extent. Consumers have also already started to look at it not only as a healthy snack but also as a healthy replacement for meals.”


Companies tying up with corporates to target office employees, adds Dawer, will also help in increasing consumption by making it a quick, convenient and healthy substitute for meals. “I will not be surprised if frozen yogurt sees growth of 70-80 per cent each year over the next two years,” predicts Dawer.


There are a few obstacles to such robust growth. The lack of adequate cold chain infrastructure is the biggest roadblock, which restricts distribution to cities and towns away from the manufacturing facilities. This also makes building loyalty difficult as consumers tend to lap up whichever brand they can get their hands on. Says Suman Srivastava, cofounder of Marketing Unplugged, a brand consultancy: “While there are a number of brands in the space, someday I eat one brand and the next day I pick up another. This may be because not all outlets are stocking all brands.” Srivastava also thinks for the category to become bigger there has to lot of innovation: “When Britannia showed its cheese as equivalent to a glass of milk, it was unique way to position the product. Similarly if brands are able to create some parallels for frozen/flavoured yoghurt that could help increase adoption,” he says.


Source: The economic Times

Copyright © 2012, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved


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