GETTING INTO HIGH GEAR
The festive season is the time when maximum purchase happens in a household and brands and retailers experience the fastest turnover. Businesses pull out every trick in the playbook to cash in on this opportunity, making inroads into the customer’s heart
The festive season is around the corner, and gaiety and abandon is in the air. If Rakhi and Janmashtami celebrations in the latter half of August were the perfect springboard to the festive months ahead, the Pujo celebrations followed by Dussehra, Diwali and eventually culminating with Christmas and New Year, will mark the climactic points in the season of shopping, splurging and joyful indulgence. It is the period when people are in the mood to spend and lavish gifts. They love to go out, explore the market and look for different buying options. Naturally, the festive season brings higher footfall in retail stores. Consumer demand is at its highest during the season and so is market sentiment. In general, sales volume of all products peak during the festive season.
Overall, F&G business zooms, lead by chocolates, dry fruits, juices, sweets, biscuits, staples, oils, spices, namkeens, etc. The arrival of the festive season sparks an unusual gifting fervor among consumers, making the period the perfect sweet spot for retailers and manufacturers to rake in the moolah and whip up plenty of dough. A study done by industry body Assocham revealed that middle and lower middle income families in India spent an average of 29 per cent of their salary during the festive season. However, if brands offer more incentives by way of discounts or freebies during the festive season, customers would spend more, according to the survey, which was conducted in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad,
We are all geared up for the festival season and hope to do over 500% more business than in the regular months. Post GST, consumers were a bit uncertain at the start of the third quarter but now sales momentum has picked up. — Shaishav Mittal Founder & CEO, Lovely Bake Studio
Hyderabad, Pune, Chandigarh and Dehradun. “Over 78 per cent of the respondents said that if they plan to spend more, discounts will act as incentives for them,” said the study.
Gifting fervor and business expectations
Not surprising that corporate houses and businesses use festivals to come up with new products and ideas, revamp their collection and presentation style and introduce new SKUS and packs to appeal to more numbers of consumers. Yogesh Bellani, CEO, Fieldfresh Foods, which operates the Del Monte brand, says, “An interesting differential in the cluttered festive market would be a product that appeals to the more youthful consumer, has both modern and cultural relevance, is aesthetic, adopts a contemporary approach to its use of traditional festive cues, captures the fun and spirit of the occasion, and reflects the upbeat personality of the brand.”
Brands and manufacturers hope to bag significantly higher volumes during the festive season and roll their inventories. “We are all geared up for the upcoming festival season and hope to do over 500 per cent more business than in the regular months. Post GST, consumers were a bit uncertain, especially at the start of the third quarter, but now sales momentum has picked up,” says Shaishav Mittal, Founder & CEO, Lovely Bake Studio, a premier European inspired bakery, which offers its guests 100 per cent egg-less delicacies, a first-of–its–kind concept in north India. Bolstering Lovely Bake Studio’s presence in the food segment is its sibling, Lovely Sweets, a leading manufacturer and retailer of traditional Indian sweets in north India. “Our product range across both brands performs extremely well in all formats. Cookies sell all the year round and sales of sweets range picks up during the festival season,” he adds.
“We are all charged up and look forward to positive growth from the forthcoming festive season during which we will be introducing new gift packs ranges. We expect 200-300 per cent growth in the festive season as compared to the normal season and hope to achieve 25 per cent of our total turnover from the festive season,” says Prateek Athwani, Managing Director, Lal Sweets Pvt. Ltd, one of the finest and premium brands of Indian traditional laddoos.
Businesses are all the more in anticipation of the upcoming festive season because the past few months had been quite volatile. “The past 8-9 months have been difficult for the industry on account of demonetization and GST implementation. However, we believe that in the long run these measures will be good for industry. Things have already started turning since last month and the trade is now in recovery mode. We are looking forward to the festive season with lots of enthusiasm in terms of boosting sales and catching up on the earlier lag. We expect the forthcoming festive season to be very good and promising,” says Sanjay Jain, Director, Dugar Overseas Pvt. Ltd, which is amongst India’s leading import, manufacturing, distribution and marketing houses, managing a products portfolio across categories such as chocolates, cream wafers, candies, cookies, juices and more with a bevy of globally loved FMCG brands from Europe, South America and Asia.
The buoyant festive sentiment is shared by Gunjan Jain, MD, VKC Nuts, a leader in nuts & dried fruits that sells its products under the brand name Nutraj. “As a land of multitude geographies, India is a true melting pot of diverse, myriad ethnicity and cultures, resulting in a number of festivals celebrated with much fervor and fanfare. We are now at the cusp of a major festive season and the excitement is palpable amongst diverse sectors, each expecting a surge in sales. The settling of the niggling issues related to GST a month ahead of the season augurs well for the business. The sectors expected to do particularly well are the ones that offer products ideal for Diwali gifting – FMCG, textiles and household goods in
Percentage-wise, we should be growing by 20% as compared to the previous year. Since the previous months’ sales record has not been too good, we are hoping to see a tremendous rise in sales this festive season. — Sanjay Jain Director, Dugar Overseas Pvt. Ltd
We are expecting a 100% increase in overall business from the festive season, with our new line of gifting options in place. Also, we are now venturing into the consumer and corporate gifts arena. — Rishav Kanoi Founder, Tea Trove
general and dry fruits and sweets gift packs in particular.”
Kamal Agarwal, MD, Sri Shandar Snacks Pvt. Ltd., which operates the Tastilo brand of snacks, says: “We are expecting exponential growth in sales this festive season with rapid growth in our premium category segment of snacks.” Even new players and entrants are setting great store by in souped up sales and profits in the coming months. “We have great expectations of sales this festive season as it will be our first festive season since we entered the Delhi market. We are expecting a 100 per cent increase in overall business from the festive season, with our new line of gifting options in place. Also, we are now venturing into the consumer and corporate gifts arena, innovating with an eco-friendly cork to make the best use of it as our tea gift packaging material,” says Rishav Kanoi, Founder, Tea Trove, a Kolkatabased tea company engaged in the cultivation, processing, trading and packing of tea.
Another new player, Supa Foods Pvt. Ltd, which operates the sweets brand Misht, is similarly gung-ho on business prospects in the months ahead. “We are very excited about our first festival season. Considering that we have already received great response through advance orders, we are very confident of achieving our goals. We are aware that the consumer today has high expectations and at the same time is looking forward to innovation. With our Misht products, we endeavor to exceed expectations on all parameters,” says Pawan Kumar, Director, who expects brand Misht to pull in bumper sales during the coming months and is counting on at least quadrupling its current sales.
On their part, retailers too are nursing high hopes from the ensuing festive season in terms of better sales traction, consumer connect, branding, etc. “We usually see a spike of 20-25 per cent in sales during the festive period compared to regular months. Overall, F&G business zooms up, lead by chocolates, dry fruits, juices, sweets, biscuits, staples, oils, spices, namkeens, etc.,” reveals Kunaal Kumar, Owner, Modern Bazaar superstores in Delhincr. According to Sunil Jindal, Managing Director, SRS Ltd., a chain of convenience stores in Delhi-ncr, “The festival season brings a great deal of cheer for both consumers and retailers. With a slew of festivals ahead, we expect great footfalls and sales traction at our stores. As the festive season is a period for spreading joy and happiness, the purchasing power of consumers is at its peak because there is a lot of gifting to be done. We expect to see a sales hike of 10-20 percent during this period.”
In fact, as Jindal point out, gifting has become a characteristic and intrinsic feature of the festive season. Both retailers and manufacturers aver that gifts have come to occupy an important part in our lives and gifting builds human relationships. “In the festive season, gifts occupy an important part as they help to cement ties and build bonds. In this fast-paced life, we occasionally get time to meet and greet our friends, relatives or business associates and gifts are a beautiful way to keep up and nurture our relationships. Festive season, through the medium of gifting, helps in nourishing our connections and this is a theme that plays across all product categories.
In the food category, people like to shop for valueoffering items that have unique flavours and product combinations,” says Vikram Agarwal, Director, Greendot Health Foods Ltd, which operates the Cornitos brand of snacks. Agrees Rafathullah Mohammed, CEO, Dukes India, makers of a wide range of cookies, chocolates and wafers. “Given the Indian culture and traditions, gifting holds a very important place for each and every occasion. Whether it’s Rakshabandhan, Diwali or New Year, we love to celebrate it with something sweet and spread the joy of festivities with our near and dear ones.”
Retail analysts estimate that the gifting industry in India has registered strong growth over the past decade thanks to the rising income levels and aspirations. Also, aiding this growth are such factors as (on the demand side) the widening of the customer base, and (on the supply side) the offering of innovative products at attractive prices. Currently, the gifting market’s size is estimated at close to USD 50 billion, with many industry players reporting annual growth in the range of 20-40 per cent during the festive months. According to Sunil Jindal of
We are aware that the consumer today has high expectations and, at the same time, is looking forward to innovation. With our Misht products, we endeavor to exceed expectations on all parameters. — Pawan Kumar Director, Supa Foods Pvt. Ltd
An interesting differentiator in the cluttered festive market would be a product that appeals to the more youthful consumer, has both modern and cultural relevance, is aesthetic and adopts a contemporary approach. — Yogesh Bellani CEO, Fieldfresh Foods
SRS Ltd, “Food has always been a popular gifting category irrespective of any season. Sales of food items has always been very profitable during the festival season. The credit for higher sales during the period is due to the exciting range of products alongside attractive offers by retailers. At SRS, the sales contribution from the food segment is about 70 per cent whereas it is 30 per cent from non-foods.”
New launches, innovations, gift packs...
With gifting being an indispensable part of the festive season, the category has traditionally been dominated by sweets, dried fruits and chocolates. However, in recent years, the gifting segment has grown and expanded considerably and now includes myriad product categories, even within the food segment. No wonder that markets suddenly come alive with an array of ‘giftables’ during the festive months. Though the season continues to be strongly dominated by sweets, chocolates, dry fruits and snacks, sales of non-traditional products like tortilla packs, exotic teas, coffee and fruits, jams, honey, saffron, marshmallows, crackers, sauces, wines, etc, have picked up sharply in recent years.
Retailers feel that gifting has moved away from being an occasional activity limited to events like Diwali, birthdays, weddings, etc., to becoming almost an everyday routine. Now, people are finding reasons to gift everyday and to everyone around them. So today you have gifts for occasions like a daily class test performed well, for achieving weight-reduction targets, for helping at home or work, etc. “The scope for gifting has increased hugely. This has led to new categories of gifts, which are being added on a regular basis. Also, the prices of gifts has been coming down, making them more affordable to larger swathes of the population and expanding the market for gifts,” says Kumar of Modern Bazaar.
Not surprising that retailers, manufacturers and brands are focusing on coming out with attractive gift packs and new product launches. For instance, Nature’s Basket offers food and gourmet gift hampers, which are occasion-specific and customizable. Foodhall, a Future Group company, has similar product offerings. Haldiram’s, a traditional mithai store, realizing the opportunity in other food gift categories,
now offers innovative products and hampers in chocolate, gourmet, and bakery space. FMCG companies like Pepsico, Parle, Coca-cola offer innovative gift products during festive occasions, apart from their regular product offerings. New product innovation, creating consumer mindset about new products, enhancing the reach through both e-tail and retail, designing variety options, and bundling products based on consumer preference are the focus areas for players wishing to tap new consumer segments during the long festive season.
“This festival season, we will launch two new flavors – Mango Pickle & Cool Wasabi – besides also launching two attractive gift packs for the corporate sector as well as for modern retail market. We hope these new launches will give our brand a great mileage and offer an opportunity to our consumers to relish healthy snacking with theri family and friends,” says Tastilo’s Kamal Agarwal. Greendot’s Cornitos brand, which hopes to garner a 25 per cent increase in sales during the festive season on the back of its newly launched Pop-n-crunch nuts and seeds range has also recently launched a couple of exciting new gift packs in different categories ranging from nachos, seeds, nuts, dips, etc. “The new products launched as gift packs include 30 gm new packs of nacho crisps in nine flavors inside 9 Star Dip O’ Treat gift packs, roasted premium cashews in crack pepper flavor, and roasted pumpkin seeds in individual and combo gift pack named Nuts Delight. We have also introduced nacho crisps in 60 gm and 150 gm packs along with salsa 4 in 1 tray in Nacho Fiesta Gift Pack. Nacho Fiesta Gift Pack and 9 Star Dip O’ Treat gift packs are going to be our star performers as they combine nacho crisps in exotic flavours along with delectable dips – cheese dip and salsa dip,” points out Cornitos’ Vikram Agarwal.
Dugar Overseas, which believes in expanding its range by launching new products regularly, has launched Chocodates – a product from Dubai’s Notions Group – in four flavours (milk, dark, coconut and assorted). Dugar Overseas’ Sanjay Jain says that Chocodates is a perfect gifting solution as it has all the three components that make for a good gift – date, nut (almond) and chocolate in each serving. “We have also launched two products from Germany. One is Katjes, premium jellies and a 100 per cent vegetarian product in five different shapes. The second German product is Impact Mints, which are sugar-free mints in seven different flavours. All the products in our portfolio have a loyal customer base, which keeps growing. In Sapphire nuts (almond, fruit & nut, hazelnut, etc), Sapphire cookies (butter cookies, chocolate & butter scotch flavour) and Chocodates, we have a great variety of products and all of these come in packs of 90 gm to 350 gm. Hence, retail and corporate customers can select any of these products based on their requirement. Also, both Sapphire and Chocodates come in affordable, medium range and premium packaging in order to cater to all segments of customers.”
Over the past few years, Dugar Overseas has been growing well and it expect to continue the momentum this year as well. “Percentage-wise, we should be growing by 20 per cent as compared to the previous year. As mentioned earlier, since previous months’ sales record has not been too good, we are hoping to see a tremendous rise in sales in the coming season,” says Jain. The company does not believe in run-of-the-mill schemes like ‘Buy One Get One Free’ as it feels that its prices are very reasonable and offer value for consumers. “We want to give something big to our consumers. Therefore, this season we are running a Golden Ticket scheme wherein every tin pack of our products will have a peel-off inside and the consumer might be lucky enough to find the Golden Ticket. These tickets will be redeemable gift vouchers of Tanishq ranging from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 20,000,” reveals Jain.
Likewise, Lal Sweets will be introducing several new products, especially for the festive season. Its new launches include Lal Sugarless Nutty Bites and
We usually see a spike of 20-25% in sales during the festive period compared to regular months. Overall, F&G business zooms up, lead by chocolates, dry fruits, juices, sweets, biscuits, staples, oils, spices, namkeens, etc. — Kunaal Kumar Owner, Modern Bazaar
Festive season, through the medium of gifting, helps in nourishing our connections and this is a theme that plays across all product categories. In the food category, people like to shop for valueoffering items. — Sunil Jindal MD, SRS Limited
a range of gift boxes such as Lal Royal Treat, Lal Warm Wishes, Lal Happy Treat, among others. “We are expecting our Lal Happy Treat gift box to be the star performer due to its attractive packaging and affordable price point,” says Prateek Athwani, adding that the company will also be offering bumper promotions such as ‘Buy 1 Get 1 Free’ on besan laddoo, dry fruits, halwa bites, shahi sohan papdi, and its other products sporting a price range between Rs. 75 and Rs. 1,000. “Our affordable range will have products such as Lal Happy Treat, Lal Shahi Treat and Lal Warm Wishes. The premium and luxury range will comprise Lal Kaju Katli and Lal Sugarless Nutty Bites.”
Sweets brand Misht too will launch two new variants and introduce new packaging including a special packaging for gifting purpose. “While we have kaju katli, milk cake, besan barfi and dodha barfi in the market, we will launch Mathura peda and badam barfi as well. All these products are packaged in our unique single-piece packs that we call ‘Pods’, which have a high shelf life and are very convenient to store and consume. We are counting on our kaju katli and badam barfi to be big winners during the festive sales,” says Pawan Kumar.
“Launching new innovative products is a better strategy than giving offers and promotions to push your existing products range. Not only do you get word of mouth publicity, even your customers will always be on the lookout for what’s new that you are coming up with, which they can try or gift to their dear ones,” feels Tea Trove’s Rishav Kanoi, who will be introducing Blue Tea in the Indian market made from 100 per cent dried butterfly pea flowers. “We expect our new launch Blue Tea and Maharaja Kashmiri Kahwa to be star performers in tea category and our Cork Tea Gift packages to be a big hit with consumers and a bestseller in corporate gifting arena.”
Tea Trove, which has so far been a one-stop destination for buying all types of tea online, is now venturing into the consumer and corporate gifts arena. It has come out with an eco-friendly cork, an innovation that serves as a superior tea gift packaging material. “Cork lends its unique textures, colors, and designs to our tea packaging, adding elegance to it,” he says. Pawan Kumar of brand Misht is also a great believer in the benefits accruing from new launches during festival months.”i believe there are many advantages of launching new products during the festive season. As consumer spend is at its peak, people are looking for all kinds of gifting options. So along with eyeballs, new products are able to get lots of trials.” According to Sanjay Jain of Dugar Overseas, “Launching a new product during the festive season guarantees automatic placement as the mood of retail channel partners is upbeat and they are willing to take the risk of trying out new products.”
Consumer gifting in food space is a very big market and growing at a very healthy rate. Therefore, in spite of competition, brands with good positioning and differentiators are growing quite well. While most brands continue to focus on quality and packaging and on new promotions to create excitement with the trade and the consumers, they are also focusing on developing value offerings and product lines with the affordability mindset in order to drive higher sales. Bringing in smaller packs at lower price points is a good way to gain volumes and be able to reach out to the masses.
“All our products are very economically priced, starting from Rs. 100 and going up to Rs. 600. This is mainly done keeping in mind the various needs of consumers and their gifting preferences. Our products are also more price-point driven and we are now providing unique ‘baskets’ to corporate clients wherein they can pick and choose the desired products to create a customized combo. This is going to be a very innovative concept in addition to the organized retail chains that we are already targeting,” points out Dukes’ Rafathullah Mohammed whose brand enjoys a huge market share in the wafer segment and has an extensive product portfolio across cookies and chocolates.
All the products in our portfolio have a loyal customer base, which keeps growing. However, we expect that this season our brand Sapphire and Chocodates will be star performers. — Vikram Agarwal Director, Greendot Health Foods Pvt. Ltd.
We expect 200-300% growth in the festive season as compared to the normal season and hope to achieve 25% of our total turnover from the festive season. — Prateek Athwani MD, Lal Sweets Pvt. Ltd.
Like every year, this time too Dukes has come up with a wide range of products to cater to the huge demand of sweets and confectionery during festivals. As the brand prepares for its third consecutive year in the gifting segment, it has eight different SKUS of chocolate and confectionery to offer to consumers. “Almost all of our SKUS are brand new. From combi pack of Waffy, various size packs of Truffel, premium boxes of Danish Butter Cookies and Gourmet – everything is very fresh and unique! So, not just one but all our products will be bestsellers in their respective categories,” avers Mohammed. Some of Dukes SKUS like Truffel, Waffy, Gourmet and Danish Butter Cookies enjoy the reputation for being best-in-class products that are ideal for gifting and family get-togethers.
“Our special festive packages will not just be available in different sizes that suits everyone’s needs but will also be available in retail outlets from the beginning to the end of the season. Special attention is also being paid to accumulative stocking such that owing to last minute rush right before the festivals, we can replenish the products before stocks run out. In all, we are prepared well in advance to meet the increasing demand of consumers during the festivities and also to double our sales in this period as compared to the previous year. I am confident that with our pricing, distribution and stocking strategy in place, we are going to notch up a truly outstanding sales figure at the end of this period.”
Higher demand and sales of sweets, chocolates, cookies and confectionery have always marked the festive spirit. Says Kunaal Kumar of Modern Bazaar, “We do see the demand for chocolates, cookies and snacks grow higher in the festive season with improved availability. We are optimistic that with growing awareness and consciousness for healthier alternatives and eating options, the entire gamut of health products including gluten-free grains, honey, roasted and baked snacks, etc, to grow exponentially this season.”
In recent years, though a shift away from traditional sweets, cookies and confectionery has been noticed, sales of the latter remain strong and continue to dominate the market. With the trend of gifting also catching up in smaller towns and cities and in the rural areas as well, baked confectionery has emerged as preferred gifting category, mainly due to the price positioning. As a mass consumption item, cookies and sweets enjoy huge acceptability amongst people from diverse background.” Tin gift hampers of cookies, assorted baklava and cookies boxes, granola dry fruit mix, baked sweets made out of rich dry fruit, assorted packs of namkeen bhujia, canned jamun & soan papri and desi ghee channa barfi are some products that we have lined up for the festival season. We feel tin boxes perform very well during festival sales as they are an ideal gift and people can reuse the tin boxes for their household chores. Our range of assorted baklava comes in gift packs of 6 pieces, 12 pieces and 15 pieces and the price range of our products is between Rs. 195 and Rs. 500,” says Lovely Bake’s Shaishav Mittal.
While Lovely’s Indian Sweets will be available in the affordable and premium category, its cookies gift hampers will be targeted at premium and luxury customers. “We have recently designed gift packs of granola dry fruit mix and introduced ‘Buy 2 and Get 1 Free’ for some products and ‘Buy 2 and Get 10 per cent Off’ as consumer offers for the festival season. We have also custom designed end caps/ display unit for the upcoming festival season and will be showcasing our complete range in those end caps.” Lovely Bake expects its cookies tin gift hampers and premium baklava sweets to have maximum sales traction during the festive season and will be undertaking extensive promotion, wet sampling and aggressive in-house branding via danglers, posters, boards in all MT chains.
While the festival season comes alive with an array of giftables, people are also becoming bored with traditional namkeens and snacks and are looking for something more exciting and innovative. “Customers are moving towards gift items that are personalized, classy, have a good shelf life, and which come in attractive packaging,” says Sunil Jindal of SRS. Gunjan Jain of VKC Nuts echoes a similar sentiment. “Though there is a huge demand for traditional nuts
All our products are very economically priced, starting from Rs.100 and going up to Rs.600. This is mainly done keeping in mind the various needs of consumers and their gifting preferences. — Rafathullah Mohammed CEO, Dukes India
The settling of niggling issues related to GST a month ahead of the season augurs well for the business. The sectors expected to do particularly well are the ones that offer products ideal for Diwali gifting. — Gunjan Jain MD, VKC Nuts
and dry fruits in the tier-2 and tier-3 cities, newage customers from the urban sector are looking at experiencing new products and are exploring new varieties on offer. While we are catering to one segment of our audience with the regular products, we have also introduced a vast collection of exotics like apple rings, morels, pines, kiwis and more for the other segment to explore and indulge in.”
To meet the growing consumer expectations, brands like Cornitos are introducing differentiators in the form of attractive packaging and combinations of exciting flavours and products that offer delightful munching moments in tune with the effervescent mood of the festive season. “Our company’s strategy behind launching products during the festive season is to provide a platform for its consumers who are ready to pick new gift offerings that are unique and hold a value proposition. This time we have launched products catering to the interests of all kinds of customers. Cornitos gift packs have been designed to target all group of people whether young or old and all those who prefer healthy snacking and taste differentiators. We have worked to make our gift packs unique in packaging so that they have better visibility on the shelf. Cornitos gift packs also provide different combinations of exotic flavours and products in a single pack. We are targeting everyone for our gift packs during the festive months by providing multiple price band choice to consumers for our gift packs,” says Vikram Agarwal. The company has positioned Cornitos’ offerings as a complete gifting solution under healthy snacking umbrella.
Brands also use attractive packaging to attract consumers’ eyeballs. Packaging design and aesthetics play a big role in the choices consumers make when it comes to festive gifting and that is why brands
Packaging design and aesthetics play a big role in the choices consumers make when it comes to festive gifting and that is why brands lay great emphasis on eye-catching pack design.
lay great emphasis on eye-catching pack design. Most decisions about food gifting items take place in stores and packaging plays a key role in these fast, split-second decisions. Increasingly, companies are innovating with their packaging to underline their premium nature, adherence to food protection and safety standards, dynamism, the spirit of the occasion, etc. Given the importance of packaging in promoting sales, companies hire design teams and artists to create the right concept. Design, colors,and imagery play a vital role in the design process. Pepsico, for instance, was successful in projecting packaged juices as a gifting item, owing largely to its attractive packaging.
Similarly, top beverage players Parle Agro, Coca Cola, Fresca Juices, Paperboat are banking on their newer offerings and refreshed packaging to stir up market buzz during the festive season. Fresca, which sells a range of 10 exciting variants such as litchi, mango, aam panna, tangy shikanji, lime water, mix fruit, apple, guava, pomegranate and pineapple, has developed attractive festive pack variants of tetra pack and PET. It plans to launch four different range of gift packs in both tetra and PET variants with a new fresh look, affordable prices in the Rs. 100 to Rs. 225 range along with the promise of assured quality. “We have made our festive packs very attractive and also convenient to carry; moreover the packs give a feeling of value for money. We have also done customization as to the number of pieces in a gift pack required by corporate and are also customizing specific flavors. Besides, we are coming up with Jaljeera drink for the festive season,” says Akhil Gupta, MD, Fresca Juices, adding that the company expect 40 per cent of its overall business to come from the festive season sales ahead. “All food products have their own share in gifting but the share of juices has been increasing in the past 2-3 years. As far as brands are concerned, attractive packaging and distribution matters most in driving sales.
‘Healthy gifting’ as a category has gained noticeable traction among today’s consumers. More and more brands and new categories like olive oils, fruits, namkeens, dry fruits, etc, have joined the healthy snacking and gifting bandwagon over the years. Gift-ready packs, high on health, hygiene and variety are successfully engaging the consumers, and helping F&B companies gain a bigger market share during the festive season. Says Ritesh Bajaj, Director, K.B.B. Nuts Pvt. Ltd, which operates Tulsi and Gourmia brands, “Health products are currently in big demand so we are positive that dry fruits will sell big time this year too like every year. Our expectations are high and we hope to achieve double of the average monthly sales on the back of of our premium gift packs comprising roasted nuts and exotic fruits.”
The company, which is among the largest nuts and dry fruits business group in India and among the top importers with over four decades of expertise in the nuts and dry fruits segment, offers a wide range of raw and flavored products for consumers, institutions, Horeca and other sales channels. “We promote healthy nuts and nutritious dried fruits like prunes, cranberries, etc. Our brands in the gourmet segment are Tulsi, Gourmia and Magic Nuts with Gourmia Trail Mixes being the latest addition. Tulsi is our flagship brand with almonds as our lead product.” With a wide and attractive assortment of nuts and dry fruits at multiple price points between Rs. 445 and Rs. 995, K.B.B’S new product offerings this season will include Trail Mixes and Blueberry. “We believe that the primary sales drivers during the festive season are product quality and right pricing. We plan to communicate our gift box options through strategic tie-ups with all major retail chains across India and by way of radio and print ad campaigns, says Bajaj.
According to Jain of VKC Nuts, “Our retail outlets will launch ‘Nut-lounge Special gift boxes’, which will be a value addition on our traditional products. With newer flavours and coatings, these gift boxes will delight the connoisseurs on all the four parameters – health, taste, value and aesthetics. At Nutraj, we strongly believe that variety is the key to success of dry fruits in corporate gifting. We are expecting our customers to look beyond our traditional products like nuts and dry fruits and experience the modern and more exotic collection
This festival season, we will launch two new flavors – Mango Pickle & Cool Wasabi – besides also launching two attractive gift packs for the corporate sector as well as for modern retail market. — Kamal Agarwal MD, Sri Shandar Snacks Pvt. Ltd.
like dried pineapples, kiwis, apples, hazelnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, etc., which are a treasuretrove of nutrition and good health.”
This festive season VKC Nuts hopes to tot up 25 per cent of its overall annual sales with the biggest contribution coming from its ‘dry fruit gift boxes’. “Our gift box segment make up about 95 per cent of our sales during the festive season. For our regular range of nuts & dried fruits, sales in the festive season accounts for almost 25 per cent of our annual sales. This season, we are bringing in a far wider range of attractive gift boxes to suit every budget. They will showcase our innovation in processes and products, and the value addition we bring in the form of new flavored range of nuts, dried fruits and berries. We are constantly looking for ways to enhance the snacking experience for our valued customers and, accordingly, we are offering a ‘value pack’ of handpicked, super selection of whole walnuts, along with a ‘unique designer walnut cracker’, which makes cracking these walnuts and consuming them fresh a deliciously wonderful experience,” reveals Jain.
Branding, promotion and online
In keeping with the spirit of the festive season and the upbeat business sentiment, brands, manufacturers and retailers will be busy promoting products through print ads, radio, leaflets, in store marketing material, sampling and exhibitions. Also, one can expect to see lots of in-store promotions to attract consumers. “This year, we plan to actively engage with social media and we have hired an agency to take care of our back-end. We also have plans to take adverts in magazines. As I mentioned earlier, we are running a Golden Ticket scheme, which is a major investment towards brand building,” reveals Sanjay Jain of Dugar Overseas.
Rafathullah Mohammed of Dukes India has a slightly different take. “As the festive period is for a limited duration, one cannot really plan elaborate advertising schemes. So your target has to be very specific and to the point. We are aiming at having a strong communication with our consumers through select mass media platforms. Also, as buying is a very impulsive decision in the FMCG category, it’s very rare that you pre-decide on a certain brand before entering a supermarket. So, we are looking at additional paid visibility within large retail outlets. We hire space in a large format retail store and use it to display our products in an attractive fashion. We believe this approach ensures your products receive consumers’ attention and even retailers take much interest in promoting the same to consumers.” As one the top FMCG companies to have a strong presence in modern trade, which contributes 50 per cent of its total sales, Dukes is not averse to making bold investments for strengthening and expanding it outreach further and to more retail channels. “Over the years, we’ve gained hugely from organized retail presence and going forward we are confident of being on the right track. Our variety in cookies, wafers, digestive biscuits and cream biscuits allows us to make an impact on every category – from economical to niche.”
Other FMCG brands too have ensured strategic reach of their products this festive season with extensive tie-ups with retailers. “We are the only nuts & dried fruit company in India present in all the trade channels and we straddle imports, exports, processing, distribution, and private label packing. We have our own branded packing for pan-india sales through modern and traditional retailers. And now, we also have our own retailing venture with our newly opened ‘Concept Nuts & Dried Fruits Stores’. These self-owned stores offer a very unique retailing experience to customers by making available the widest range of nuts, dried fruits, seeds and berries,” says Gunjan Jain of VKC Nuts. “Modern trade is definitely the future of retail industry. More and more people like to go to supermarkets and browse. This helps new brands like ourselves get noticed and hence tried. I believe there is no other trade format that allows so much browsing and searching for new products. 75 per cent of our retail sales come through modern trade,” avers Misht’s Pawan Kumar.
We have also done customization as to the number of pieces in a gift pack required by corporate and are also customizing specific flavors. Besides, we are coming up with Jaljeera drink for the festive season. — Akhil Gupta MD, Fresca Juices
According to Sanjay Jain of Dugar Overseas, “We have tied up with the entire organized channel for the forthcoming season. We are also planning to provide exclusive in-shop promotions during Diwali with the top 40 retailers in Delhi/ NCR to promote our Sapphire gifting range.” “We will go for digital marketing and for advertising we have chosen social media as the medium to reach out to our consumers and would-be consumers. All the updates will be there on our page on Facebook and Instagram about our exciting festive range offers,” says Akhil Gupta of Fresca Juices.
The festive season also brings with it a host of opportunities for online retailing. With online shopping on the rise, there is an increasing demand for products like imported wines, cheeses, chocolates, dry fruits and gourmet products, etc. The demand is fueled by increased consumption during the festive period and paucity of time. Taking the cue, retailers have begun to aggressively focus on online as another new channel of distribution whereas large e-commerce companies like Amazon and Flipkart have dedicated specific sections to gifting.
At the same time, most players in the offline space like Nature’s Basket, Foodhall, etc, are widening their online presence to capture the online gifting space. New, dedicated gifting portals have been launched to capture this space like giftease. com, giveter.com, indiangiftsportal.com, and wishpicker. com, to name a few. The offerings on these websites include bakery products, assorted chocolates, confectionery, dry fruits, sweets, and other gourmet products, apart from other categories like flowers, jewelry, watches, etc. With rising time paucity and ever-longer distances separating families, the role of e-commerce will only deepen in the future, thanks to the rising penetration of Internet service providers.
The trends highlighted above are expected to become magnified in the years to come, and can result in radical changes in the gifting space in terms of product offerings, channels, packaging, events and occasions, customer needs, and brand innovations. It is an exciting time to be in the space and enjoy alongside customers who are also rejoicing in their happy occasions, while also innovating with them. However, though online players have come to play a vital role in today’s world for individual gift pack deliveries, but when it comes to the corporate segment, companies still wish to take from the supplier directly and not through online channels. That is because they can get huge discounts and customization options from offline players. But at the same time, the trend towards buying gift items online is catching fast. For big retailers like Hypercity, the offline versus online contribution is about 80:20 currently for its gifting SKUS. But while it is true that the traditional way of organised delivery is time taking, the gifting season is more of an organized shopping compared to online shopping. According to Gupta of Fresca Juices, “Sixty-five per cent of our sales will be accounted for by traditional retail and 35 per cent through the online channel.
But all said and done, it is worthwhile to note that only those companies that pay attention to their supply chain can reap exponential benefits during the festivity period. The adage ‘supply creates its own demand’ can come true in the festive season with companies whose products are readily available and thus scoring higher in terms of customer preference. The customer is hassled by various commitments during the festive season and the decision to buy a product is generally a quick one. FMCG companies will need to reinforce their supply chains to avoid delay in supplies and to readily occupy shelf space. In this context, demand planning, inventory management, supply chain responsiveness, manufacturing agility and reliability, and logistics are some of the enablers on which the success or failure of a company will depend, especially during the festival season. With so much at stake and so much to look forward to during the months ahead, the festive season this year holds lots of promise in stores for all – producers, consumers and retailers.
Health products are currently in big demand so we are positive that dry fruits will sell big time this year too like every year. Our expectations are high and we hope to achieve double of the average monthly sales. — Ritesh Bajaj Director, K.B.B. Nuts Pvt. Ltd.