Source: The Economic Times, Jan 03, 2017
MUMBAI: As consumers become more mindful about what they eat, ‘calorie’ count is the new ‘MRP’ for packaged food products. Traditionally, nutritional information is printed on the back of a product pack, while MRP (maximum retail price) is used as the unique selling proposition for the price-sensitive consumer.
Now, to engage with the new-age, calorie conscious consumer, marketers are turning conventional wisdom on its head and displaying nutritional information on front of the pack. Some players are highlighting low calorie count to promote products.
For instance, take the packaging of recently launched Kosh oats. It is designed in such a manner that back of the pack with nutritional information is actually the front side, while MRP appears on the reverse side. On the other hand, the new Coca-Cola pop can advertisement highlights ‘less than 100 calories’ prominently to grab the attention of cognizant consumers.
Devendra Chawla, group president — food FMCG, Future Group, said: “When consumers interested in health, pick up a pack of food product, they turn to back of the pack first to get vital information regarding calories and nutrients. We have applied this insight to launch Kosh oats, where such key information is highlighted in bold on front of the pack. Price is not as boldly displayed. Today, calories and other nutritional information are the new denomination for a set of consumers,” said Chawla.
The decision on Kosh’s packaging is no doubt risky, but Chawla believes it’s going to change the way India eats. The sales target for Kosh is Rs 75-80 crore for the first year.
The trend could become more pronounced in impulse-driven categories, triggering innovation. In a global announcement, Swiss foods and drinks multinational, Nestle spoke about a scientific breakthrough of nearly halving sugar content in its chocolate, while keeping the taste intact. As and when Nestle launches this product, calories could, in all probability, be the selling point.
According to Suresh Narayanan, CMD, Nestle India, calories are just one manifestation of the ‘nutritional value’ of a product. Since the consumers today are keen to know what “goes into” their products, Narayanan said, declarations must include clear and simple indications on amount of energy (calories), protein, carbohydrates, fat, sugar and other important nutrients that the product provides, like fibre, vitamins and minerals. “Consumers today look for transparent information on packs or via other modes like QR codes or company websites, which helps them in choosing food on basis of their nutritional need. The days when MRP and price points were almost sole vectors of consumer choice are fast fading away to an era where soul of the brand is taking primacy,” said Narayanan.
Food products, which were hitherto marketed by highlighting the price among other 4Ps (product, price, place and promotion) of marketing, are now being sold on the basis of their nutritional value including calorie counts. Lower the calories, better the prospects of a brand to gain consumer acceptance.
Cutting calories in soft drinks is also a challenge faced by cola drink majors, as they witness consumers shifting to healthier alternatives. The Coca-Cola pop can ad is just a case in point. Going forward, more ads pivoted around calorific information cannot be ruled out.