Archive for July, 2011
On my trip to the US this summer, I noticed another new trend – the craze for Chai! This isn’t chai as we Indians know it, this is Chai – an evolution of tea in a coffee culture society. They have all the variants of coffee – latte, macchiato, frappuccino – but for tea.
So, you are standing in line to get your morning fix at a typical “coffee” shop (and I’m not just talking about Starbucks, I’m talking about all the smaller chains, local coffee shops, neighborhood bakeries) and you hear orders of Chai flying all about you. And in different varieties – “A small Chai latte mocha please”, “A large chai frappuccino, very little whipped cream”, “Chai macchiato in soy milk, no sugar”. And my first reaction was a gag reflex. I’m no tea connoisseur but tea with whipped cream! In soy milk! As a Frappuccino! With Mocha flavor! – I couldn’t digest.
BUT! Curiosity got the better of me and I ventured to try it one morning to see what the craze was about, whether this chai frappuccino was worth the hullaballoo it had created. My first sip, and I thought “what is this?”, second sip “this is interesting…”, third sip “Ya, I can taste the tea in it…” and by my fourth sip “I can get used to this…” and then on I was hooked!
I visited my aunt there and noticed she had switched from using tea leaves to using some Chai Latte pre-mix. And this is an aunt who is really fond of tea, I remember her fussing over taking back a particular brand of tea from India the last time she visited us.
I went grocery shopping there and what did I find? I found a whole range of ready-mixes for Chai Latte in multiple flavors (Vanilla, Spiced, Cardamom) by multiple brands.
So, all you tea aficionados out there – are you ready to try this?
Mrs. Dayal spends a considerable amount of the day in the kitchen, as do most housewives. To relieve the tedium, she often walks into the living room and switches on either the music or the TV, and then continues with the cutting-chopping-stirring etc. However, lately her comfortable routine has come up against an obstacle – her husband’s retirement has meant that he spends a lot more time watching sports / news on TV in the living room and her source of music is cut off. Which I imagine is what happens to women in a lot of households with retired spouses / adolescent kids / aged parents that hog the TV or music system.
Hence the applause for the latest innovation from Godrej – Muziplay, a fridge with a built-in FM radio and MP3 player. A radical innovation in a category that has not had much activity for some time now, and one that is based on a true consumer insight and need.
(Thanks to Parul Sarin for bringing this product and the ad to our notice)
Based on information available though, seems like the Muziplay is only available in single-door version, which may limit its appeal somewhat. Hope that the company rectifies that by launching several other models soon. The slightly premium pricing will be another barrier, let’s see if the insight behind this model is strong enough to surmount it.
Just as we were getting ready to run this post, our regular reader RJ also pointed this out in his comments on our previous post.
Notwithstanding our previous posts (read here and here) about habit change and how companies/ marketers need to adapt themselves to ensure the habits are in tune with the changing lifestyles of consumers – here’s an example of a category evolved over time, that both contributed and adapted to changing consumer lifestyles.
First there were only Vadilal, Dinshaw, Kwality & Amul Ice-creams (limited flavors, standard packaging, uncomplicated parlors), then the homemade and the more high-end ice-creams like Naturals, Baskin Robbins hit the Indian markets. And then came Gelato. Consumers were exposed to different options in the category. With exposure to each new option, their palettes also evolved from the processed chocolate and vanilla essence to the delicate flavors of fresh vanilla bean extract, dark Belgian chocolate and fresh fruit flavors. More options also exposed them to the pros and cons of the new offerings. Consumers started realizing the ill-effects (fat, calorie content in regular ice-creams) and got more weight conscious and were fast adopting the Gelato, a low calorie alternative.
Similarly, earlier, yogurt was made at home. Then some households switched over to buying readymade yogurt with the option of regular and slim. The trend to follow was flavored yogurt. Neighborhood grocery stores now offer 3 brands of flavored yogurt – Nestle, Danone and the latest entrant in the arena is Go.
The convergence of the changes in ice-cream and yogurt categories has led to the latest trend to hit the market – hip frozen yogurt shops such as Cocoberry, Yogurtbay and Fro-Yo. Of these, YogurtBay seems to be the most popular hang-out for youngsters; any time of the day (or night) if you go by these shops, you literally need to squeeze your way in to get your hands on some very seasonal fruit-, gourmet-flavored yogurt with contemporary toppings like granola, muesli, praline and jelly. They are cool (in taste and attitude), contemporary, non-preachy about health and they are the new buzzword in town.
Health benefit is probably intrinsic to the cross-category of evolved ice-creams and yogurt. Yogurtbay mentions the health benefit (fat free) almost as an afterthought, in the small print at the bottom of the poster.
P.S – On my trip to the US this summer, I noticed the same trend there. Every street corner had a frozen yogurt store – not one of these was there when I last visited 5 years ago. Same concept, but executed differently. It’s a self-service concept – first you pick the size of cup, go over to the yogurt dispensing machines (remember the softy machines, these are the same type), take as small or large squirts of the flavors that appeal to you, mix how many ever flavors you like, go over to the toppings counter and add all you like and want, weigh the cup and pay accordingly. Fabulously executed, you get exactly what you want, in what proportion you want and how much you want.
Do you think this format would work in India? Or are we too dependent on asking people to serve us that this self-serve, self-decision on yogurt flavors and topping mix would just be too much to handle?!?!
An earlier post mentioned the difficulty that healthcare agencies in the development space faced in propagating the habit of washing hands often. Across the world, diarrhoea is responsible for 3 million deaths a year, equal to one child dying every ten seconds. As mentioned in this WHO document, diarrhoea is responsible for 13% of deaths of children under 5 in India. Hand-washing with soap and water can reduce up to 48% of diarrhoeal diseases. Yet, an estimated 70 million people in India never use soap.
One brand in the commercial space that has invested heavily in promoting the practise of hand-washing at the right times during the day is Lifebuoy – Unilever’s biggest brand in India and the country’s most popular soap. For inculcating such a huge habit change in people – from not washing hands with soap at all to washing hands with soap a few times a day – Lifebuoy tied up with government agencies and NGOs, and invested significant time and money. Its ‘Swasthya Chetana’ (‘Health Awakening’) campaign that began in 2002 had the objective of educating 200 million Indians – 20% of the population – to wash their hands with soap after defecating and to achieve this goal within five years. By the end of 2004 the campaign had reached 70 million people, including 20 million children. In 2003-4 sales of Lifebuoy grew by 20%, with particularly strong sales in the eight states where the program operates.
In order to ensure that this initiative has a sustainable impact, the Lifebuoy team worked with advisers to develop a multistage programme, designed to involve and educate whole rural communities. The whole process, from initial contact to self-managed health club, took two to three years. While this represented a significant time investment, it was felt this was essential to ensure the hand-washing habit becomes part of everyday life. (Read further details about the ‘Swasthya Chetana’ campaign here)
While all the phases of the campaign are worth focusing on, in this post I will call attention to one aspect of it that is related to earlier discussions about tangible benefits which are one of the factors that help drive changes in habits. One of the key elements of Lifebuoy’s hygiene education approach was the ‘glowgerm’ demonstration. This countered the common misconception that ‘visibly clean’ is ‘hygienically clean’, and, in an easy-to-understand manner, drove home the message that even clean-looking hands are dirty until washed with soap. Children were invited to take part in a ‘glowgerm’ demonstration. This involved applying a white powder to the palms of hands, then washing with water only. Hands were then held under an ultra-violet light and the powder glowed where dirt remained, showing that hand-washing without soap was not enough. The children then repeated the process, this time using soap, only to discover the UV light showed no trace of the powder – a simple but highly effective demonstration that made the benefit of using soap tangible.