Progressive Grocer (India) - - Category Watch -

MAKE NAVIGATION EAS­IER It’s not enough to stack freezer cases with prod­ucts – no mat­ter how at­trac­tive they may be — and hope that shop­pers come down the aisle. Re­tail­ers should en­sure the frozen sec­tion is eas­ily nav­i­ga­ble, and should keep end cap freez­ers stocked with a va­ri­ety of teaser items as to what else is avail­able down the aisles. If ne­ces­sity is the mother of in­ven­tion, there are other in­ven­tive ways to bring needed traf­fic and sales to the frozen sec­tion. Im­proved light­ing and case de­sign can help, but the big change that needs to be made is for the frozen case to be eas­ier to shop – to make it even eas­ier to browse, so shop­pers can dis­cover prod­ucts that are new to them. Gro­cers can also bring frozen foods to other ar­eas of the store, and some brands can help them do just that. It’s all about cre­at­ing an im­mer­sive, en­gag­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, cou­pled with a com­pletely In­sta­grammable mo­ment.


MIX OF PROD­UCTS Frozen food com­pa­nies should con­tinue to roll out in­no­va­tive prod­ucts, in­vig­o­rat­ing the cat­e­gory. So, new prod­uct de­vel­op­ment is crit­i­cal and com­pa­nies need to get an idea of the up­side po­ten­tial of in­no­va­tion. Re­tail­ers can look at some im­ported frozen prod­ucts that are great­tast­ing and can also be good profit gen­er­a­tors for the re­tailer. As many in­no­va­tions are hap­pen­ing in frozen foods, man­u­fac­tur­ers can look at in­tro­duc­ing a new line of prod­ucts in nat­u­ral and organic frozen of­fer­ings, which can ramp up the choices for con­sumers.

GO WITH A THEME As gro­cers seek to in­flu­ence sales in frozen foods, they can use re­sources of­fered by man­u­fac­tur­ers and in­dus­try or­ga­ni­za­tions for ad­dress­ing the per­cep­tion of fresh ver­sus frozen foods. Many of the ma­jor man­u­fac­tur­ers are ea­ger to pro­mote their frozen food prod­ucts and su­per­mar­kets can take ad­van­tage of this fact by mak­ing the frozen food aisle a fo­cal point and fea­tur­ing those items that are al­ready be­ing pro­moted by the man­u­fac­tur­ers who can of­fer point-of-sale ma­te­ri­als, art­work and con­sumer in­for­ma­tion to help re­tail­ers build their pro­mo­tions.


AND MA­TE­RI­ALS Al­though spe­cial of­fers and point-of-sale ma­te­ri­als aren’t new, gro­cers can use them in strate­gic and cre­ative ways to en­tice shop­pers to take a fresh look at frozen. Com­pared to other de­part­ments, coupons, pro­mo­tions and the re­quests made by oth­ers in one’s house­hold are all key trig­gers to en­tice frozen food pur­chases be­fore con­sumers are even in the store. Con­versely, prod­uct rec­om­men­da­tions, ad­ver­tis­ing and dig­i­tal in­flu­encers are less likely to have an im­pact in this cat­e­gory. There­fore, a com­bi­na­tion of coupons and in-aisle place­ment/mes­sag­ing could hone in on the pre- and in-store trig­gers that mat­ter most to frozen food shop­pers. From a mer­chan­dis­ing per­spec­tive, gro­cers should im­prove on dig­i­tal me­dia to at­tract more Mil­len­ni­als. Con­sumers de­mand quick and easy meal so­lu­tions, and may not see how frozen foods can fit into last-minute meal plan­ning. The so­lu­tion lies in of­fer­ing ideas for pair­ing frozen items with other foods and bev­er­ages in the store. In de­vel­op­ing mes­sages for of­fers and ma­te­ri­als, gro­cers can take ad­van­tage of the tools at their dis­posal. One way to drive traf­fic to the frozen case is for re­tail­ers to use the pur­chase data from their loy­alty pro­grams to iden­tify those house­holds with a high like­li­hood to buy cer­tain frozen prod­ucts, and then team up with man­u­fac­tur­ers of those prod­ucts to of­fer very high-value coupons tar­geted just at those cus­tomers.

GIVE THEM A TASTE Sam­pling, too, can be taken to another level. Su­per­mar­kets could host tast­ing events that fea­ture sam­pling across the frozen de­part­ment, where shop­pers can nosh on prod­ucts and learn more about them. Sam­pling is an ef­fec­tive tool, es­pe­cially with con­sumers that are not fully per­suaded to buy some­thing, even though it may be a food item they are fa­mil­iar with, un­til they ac­tu­ally taste it. With a wellorches­trated demo and sam­pling area, a store can in­crease shop­per knowl­edge, boost sales and in­crease traf­fic.

Our vi­sion is to be the pre­ferred first choice sup­plier for all our cus­tomers’ re­quire­ments and our mis­sion is to at­tain mar­ket lead­er­ship in our busi­ness ar­eas by cre­at­ing cus­tomer de­light through value, in­no­va­tion, and ser­vice.

— Su­labh Jain Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Soli­taire Drugs and Pharma Pvt. Ltd (Food and Bev­er­age Di­vi­sion)

We have a 360 de­gree ap­proach across medi­ums to en­gage con­sumers and will also of­fer var­i­ous pro­mo­tional and mer­chan­diz­ing ma­te­rial at the point of sale to cre­ate brand vis­i­bil­ity and aware­ness.”

The bet­ter-for-you trend in frozen is also vis­i­ble in a slew of gluten-free and free-from claims, which are de­liv­er­ing size­able shares in frozen foods. Many new gluten-free and free-from prod­ucts have been added to gro­cers’ cases in re­cent years – from gluten-free frozen ap­pe­tiz­ers and sand­wiches to new gluten-free piz­zas, among many oth­ers. “Ve­zlay food prod­ucts are widely used by the health care in­dus­try and our prod­ucts are pop­u­lar among diet cafes and gym-go­ing young­sters. Ve­zlay Foods is the first In­dian com­pany to in­tro­duce in­no­va­tive food prod­ucts such as gluten-free pure soya noo­dle, celli and soya veg­get. We have launched soya celli and veg meat in the non-frozen seg­ment. In the frozen seg­ment, we have in­tro­duced mar­i­nated soya tikkas in dif­fer­ent fla­vors. Our brand pack­ag­ing is be­ing ap­pre­ci­ated by our clients and cus­tomers. To give our prod­ucts a unique touch, we fol­low the in­ter­na­tional stan­dards and pa­ram­e­ters for pack­ag­ing too,” says Lax­man Dass Ba­jaj, Di­rec­tor, Ve­zlay Foods.

Some frozen food brands are help­ing gro­cers con­nect to their ve­gan or plant-eat­ing con­sumers with in­no­va­tive en­trées and sides. For in­stance, Soli­taire Drugs and Pharma Pvt. Ltd (Food and Bev­er­age Di­vi­sion) has in­tro­duced new in­no­va­tive prod­ucts based on mar­ket study and de­mand. “We have in­tro­duced frozen manchurian balls, frozen broc­coli, frozen onion rings, frozen veg mo­mos, frozen veg seekh ke­bab, frozen veg mini samosa, frozen falafel and some other new prod­ucts. We be­lieve that pack­ag­ing plays an im­por­tant part in sell­ing and it should be at­trac­tive and pro­vide safety to the prod­uct. We have gone in for a three-layer pack­ag­ing for our prod­ucts com­pris­ing tray pack with top seal­ing, printed du­plex sleeves and shrink wrap,” says Avnish Ku­mar Jain. On its part, to en­sure prod­uct qual­ity in the cold chain, Chevon, too, has taken to triple pack­ing and vac­uum method for its frozen prod­ucts.

Car­ni­vore, which sources its meat prod­ucts from the in­dus­trial mar­kets in Rai and Ghazipur, uses in­ter­na­tional qual­ity in­stru­ments for run­ning a more ef­fi­cient tem­per­a­ture con­trol sys­tem for its prod­ucts. “Af­ter im­port­ing raw meat, we use a hy­gienic dou­ble wash treat­ment method to clean it. The first wash is done us­ing a chem­i­cal so­lu­tion of chlo­rine and the sec­ond wash is done us­ing the wa­ter from our RO plant. Our com­pany uses chem­i­cals that are ap­proved and rec­og­nized by an in­ter­na­tional stan­dard. We main­tain hy­giene stan­dards along ev­ery step of the pro­duc­tion process and use meth­ods that are ap­proved for meat pro­cess­ing,” says Anil Sawh­ney who is look­ing to start a fran­chise down south. “About 4045% of my pro­duce sells in the re­tail sec­tor whereas the rest is sold via a dis­trib­u­tor net­work. As most of meat trade that hap­pens in south In­dia is via mod­ern trade, I am also look­ing to set up a fran­chise for the re­gion.” Var­i­ous stud­ies in re­cent years have proved that the nu­tri­tional value of many frozen fruits and veg­eta­bles is gen­er­ally equal to that of cor­re­spond­ing fresh items. Ad­di­tion­ally, the amounts of vi­ta­min A, vi­ta­min C and fo­lates in some frozen fruits and veg­eta­bles were dis­cov­ered to be higher than those of fresh stored pro­duce. “The grow­ing ac­cep­tance of western food and the need for on-the-move freshly-cooked food are the key levers for cre­at­ing a de­mand for this con­ve­nience cat­e­gory in In­dian homes. The in­creas­ing pen­e­tra­tion of frozen cat­e­gory, from the deep-freeze dis­plays at re­tail shops to home re­frig­er­a­tors, is also an out­come of the proac­tive ini­tia­tives taken by brands to give a prod­uct tast­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to en­sure aware­ness about the prod­uct, and the us­age of their prod­ucts, which highly in­flu­ences the con­sumer pur­chase de­ci­sion,” says Nair of SPAR Hy­per­mar­kets. Ac­cord­ing to Chan­drakant of Chevon, “The cus­tomer adop­tion of frozen prod­ucts has be­gun its jour­ney from the Sec A&B, cat­e­gory to­wards mul­ti­ple cat­e­gories and is al­ready the norm in a few cat­e­gories like French fries. etc (you don’t buy fresh French fries now). There is also a grow­ing shift to­ward global brands

We are among the pi­o­neers to in­tro­duce the frozen con­cept in seafood. We fly in At­lantic Salmon from Nor­way to en­sure sushi qual­ity fresh fish. We are the only ones in the in­dus­try do­ing Mod­i­fied At­mo­spheric Pack­ag­ing (MAP) for our prod­ucts, which en­sures fresh­ness at the kitchen level. — Shivam Gupta Di­rec­tor-westcoast Group & Ceo-cam­bay Tiger

(due to the look and feel fac­tor) across a ma­jor­ity of cat­e­gories. How­ever, when it comes to fresh and lo­cal del­i­ca­cies, lo­cal brands en­joy a strong pref­er­ence over global brands. Strictly speak­ing, there is no ‘per­ish­able’ bar­rier im­ped­ing the growth of global brands in th­ese cat­e­gories but still lo­cal tastes play an im­por­tant part in con­sumers’ pref­er­ence for lo­cal or global brands.”

Hot pro­mo­tions for cold prod­ucts

There’s a plethora of new of­fer­ings in the frozen food aisle: eth­nic fla­vors, organic, veg­e­tar­ian, and unique fruit and veg­etable va­ri­eties. So how do prod­ucts mer­chan­dised in the frozen food sec­tion fit into cus­tomer-fo­cused so­lu­tions, in­ter­store con­nec­tiv­ity and prof­itabil­ity? Ac­cord­ing to Nair of SPAR, “In­no­va­tion is the key to suc­cess in this cat­e­gory in In­dia where ev­ery State has a di­ver­si­fied way of food con­sump­tion. So, brands have to be dy­namic enough to re­gion­ally con­nect with the con­sumers ac­cord­ing to their tastes and pref­er­ences and by en­gag­ing con­sumers through prod­uct tast­ing. In ad­di­tion to this, brands should cre­ate aware­ness among con­sumers by ed­u­cat­ing them on us­age and sup­port re­tail­ers on in­fra­struc­ture/as­sets as they are cost pro­duc­tive”. A sur­vey done by Nielsen re­veals that pro­mo­tion plan­ning for frozen prod­ucts needs to be very pur­pose­ful to en­sure that pro­mo­tion sup­port is used to drive in­cre­men­tal vol­ume to ben­e­fit both man­u­fac­tur­ers as well as re­tail­ers. This as­pect of frozen foods’ pro­mo­tion as­sumes added sig­nif­i­cance given the fact that there ex­ist big dif­fer­ences in shop­per types and con­sump­tion pat­terns across dif­fer­ent re­gions of In­dia. Even within pop­u­la­tion seg­ments like Mil­len­ni­als, there are dif­fer­ences in age, in­come, health and fam­ily sta­tus that dic­tate the need to ex­am­ine more gran­u­lar seg­ments to un­der­stand shop­per de­mand and re­spond ac­cord­ingly with the right of­fer­ing, mer­chan­dis­ing and mes­sag­ing.

“Re­tail­ers must dif­fer­en­ti­ate the com­mod­ity prod­ucts in frozen and co-in­vest in build­ing multi-x sales rather than ex­pect­ing only higher mar­gins from com­mod­ity frozen prod­ucts. In­vest­ment in dis­play freez­ers, mak­ing the cat­e­gory at­trac­tive for more con­sumer walk-ins cou­pled with con­sumer en­gage­ment ac­tiv­i­ties on frozen v/s fresh are some ways to un­leash the po­ten­tial of the cat­e­gory. Tech­nol­ogy has a crit­i­cal role to play at lev­els in­clud­ing the sup­ply chain, lo­gis­tics, prod­uct man­age­ment and fi­nally the front-end dis­tri­bu­tion. We have rec­og­nized this and are in­vest­ing heav­ily in mul­ti­ple co­he­sive sys­tems,” avers Chevon’s Chan­drakant.

“In­dia still has a long way to go in ac­cept­ing frozen foods as the norm in cer­tain cat­e­gories. We like to part­ner with our re­tail­ers for cam­paigns and ac­tiv­i­ties that in­crease the aware­ness of frozen foods. We need more shelf space al­lo­ca­tion for frozen prod­ucts and more sup­port from re­tail­ers to ed­u­cate the cus­tomers about frozen foods,” opines Shivam Gupta of Cam­bay Tiger. His views find ready ac­cep­tance with the man­u­fac­tur­ers of frozen prod­ucts. Most agree that there ex­ists a wide gap in the need for ed­u­cat­ing con­sumers on us­ing frozen food. Most con­sumers are only com­fort­able us­ing frozen peas yet. But this at­ti­tude can be over­come by ed­u­cat­ing the con­sumer on fresh and pack­aged seafood and as­sur­ing them that it works in a sim­i­lar way like frozen peas and tastes as great as fresh fish or any other sea food which they buy from the mar­ket. Cre­at­ing aware­ness through ed­u­ca­tion will help to change long held at­ti­tudes and lead con­sumers to be­lieve in the prod­uct.

While re­tail­ers need to in­crease shelf space for the frozen prod­ucts, it is also im­per­a­tive to main­tain an op­ti­mum tem­per­a­ture for frozen foods and to give the right in­for­ma­tion while sell­ing or hand­ing over the prod­uct to the first time user. Thank­fully, in re­cent years, the shelf space for the cat­e­gory is cer­tainly in­creas­ing with the ed­u­ca­tion and ex­po­sure of the con­sumer but it needs to be pushed fur­ther. “In the frozen food cat­e­gory, the ma­jor prob­lem arises when it comes to tem­per­a­ture con­trol dur­ing trans­porta­tion and main­tain­ing a hy­gienic en­vi­ron­ment around the prod­uct. Other than that, we see a stub­born mar­ket trend wherein cus­tomers are more price-fix­ated. Re­gard­less of a per­son’s eco­nomic class, he/she al­most al­ways chooses to buy loose meat in­stead of some­thing packed and pro­cessed due to the price fac­tor. This dis­re­gard for qual­ity and hy­giene is alarm­ing and detri­men­tal to the frozen food busi­ness,” ob­serves Anil Sawh­ney of Car­ni­vore.

Frozen food play­ers agree that it is im­por­tant to keep in­tro­duc­ing new and ex­cit­ing prod­ucts in the mar­ket to en­sure that the cat­e­gory stays vi­brant. “Our com­pany has an in-house R&D team tasked

We make authen­tic qual­ity prod­ucts at an af­ford­able price be­sides also sup­ply­ing to the mar­kets in the Euro­pean Union and North Amer­ica. With our base in Le­ices­ter, UK, in­vest­ing in In­dia seems to have hap­pened at the right time for my food ex­port­ing com­pany. — Nainesh Pa­tel Owner, Farsan Foods

with in­tro­duc­ing new prod­ucts and find­ing con­sumer de­mand gaps in the mar­ket. We do a lot of BTL ac­tiv­i­ties and wet sam­pling to im­prove the aware­ness of our prod­ucts and to grow the mar­ket. But when it comes to achiev­ing a pan-in­dia scale for our prod­ucts, a sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment is re­quired to in­vest in ATL and BTL ac­tiv­i­ties and to push the prod­uct fur­ther. We have kept our op­tions open to raise the in­vest­ment. We are also invit­ing in­vestors or part­ners to grow this in­dus­try,” says Su­labh Jain of Soli­taire Drugs and Pharma (Food and Bev­er­age Di­vi­sion).

Con­sid­er­ing how In­dia is grow­ing in terms of its pur­chas­ing power, un­lim­ited ex­po­sure and in­creas­ing cu­rios­ity about food among peo­ple, es­pe­cially the younger gen­er­a­tions, the growth and de­vel­op­ment of the frozen foods cat­e­gory is not in doubt. But frozen food brands should not just fo­cus on in­no­va­tion and of­fer­ing good qual­ity prod­ucts to the con­sumers al­though both play a cru­cial role in gar­ner­ing the end user’s at­ten­tion. How­ever, in­no­va­tion should not be hap­pen­ing in terms of prod­uct only but also fig­ur­ing out new ways to reach the end con­sumer rather than re­ly­ing on the tra­di­tional ap­proach. “We col­lab­o­rate with the re­tail­ers through our B2B plan. We have one-on-one meet­ings with them. Also, we par­tic­i­pate in var­i­ous events like AAHAAR and many other trade events to ex­pand our prod­ucts’ con­sumer base. As we are more into the HORECA seg­ment, there is a huge pos­si­bil­ity for im­prov­ing the cold chain. I be­lieve tech­nol­ogy can help us reach our cus­tomers much faster through adop­tion of SEOS, apps, mass me­dia tar­get­ing through e-mar­ket­ing and other ways. We are us­ing th­ese meth­ods, which have def­i­nitely helped us to in­crease our sales vol­ume sig­nif­i­cantly,” says Yo­gesh Grover of Em­pire Foods.

“We par­tic­i­pate en­thu­si­as­ti­cally in re­tailer events, of­ten as the seafood spon­sor. The on-ground fes­ti­vals are many a times repli­cated on­line. Be­sides, we en­gage with cus­tomers with wide­spread sam­pling ac­tiv­ity and pro­mo­tions in stores. On­line, we con­stantly en­gage with the cus­tomers and use di­a­logue to bet­ter our of­fer­ings and ser­vices. Seafood is very nascent in In­dia as com­pared to other food cat­e­gories and un­der­stand­ing its nu­ances is go­ing to take a lot of con­ver­sa­tion be­tween the cus­tomers and our­selves,” says Shivam Gupta of Cam­bay Tiger.

Those in the in­dus­try say they un­der­stand the chal­lenges as they seek to bol­ster sales of frozen en­trées, snacks, break­fasts, pro­duce, desserts, meat, seafood and other frozen foods. In re­cent years, gen­er­at­ing some heat in the frozen food sec­tion has been the goal and fo­cus of many frozen food man­u­fac­tur­ers, re­tail­ers and in­dus­try groups. As con­sumers are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly well in­formed and aware of frozen prod­ucts, they know what they want and com­pa­nies will have to build their port­fo­lio around their needs. While prod­ucts will have to stand out on taste pro­files, the com­pa­nies will also have to en­sure that the prod­ucts suit the con­sumer’s mod­ern life­style and food habits. On the other hand, frozen in­gre­di­ents can be great time savers, be­cause the clean­ing and chop­ping are al­ready done. Re­tail­ers can marry the ben­e­fits of frozen foods with those that are bet­ter for the planet. Frozen foods can also be more eas­ily por­tioned and stored for later use, which re­duces spoilage and food waste, fur­ther in­creas­ing its value.

Ve­zlay Foods is the first In­dian com­pany to in­tro­duce in­no­va­tive food prod­ucts such as gluten-free pure soya noo­dle, celli and soya veg­get. We have launched soya celli and veg meat in the non­frozen seg­ment. In the frozen seg­ment, we have in­tro­duced mar­i­nated soya tikkas in dif­fer­ent fla­vors. — Lax­man Dass Ba­jaj Di­rec­tor, Ve­zlay Foods

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