The instant noodles market in India has gone through a transformation of sorts in the past few years. Fuelled by changing eating habits of the public, it has rapidly expanded to gain a size of Rs.1500 crores today & projected to become a market of Rs.3000-3500 Crores by 2015. Nestle’s Maggi was the first brand introduced in India in the year 1984. After solving some teething problems like fighting with the Indian cultural habits, it has dominated the market.
In the later nineties, Nissan’s TopRamen and recently a few brands like HUL’s Knoor Soupy, GSK’s Foodles, ITC’s Yipee entered highly competitive market. All the challenger brands have been from the big players and it has been interesting to see how each brand has been positioning itself. Maggi rules the market with 85.6 percent market share, dropping from 91 percent market share two years back, thanks to competition from the challenger brands.
This made it perfect for us to study the noodles market in India. For the first stage of this project, we have tried to understand the driving factors behind every Noodles purchase of the Indian customer with the help of few in-depth interviews. Based on our study, we have given our recommendations on the segments that GSK’s Foodles should target and the appropriate branding strategy.Children as an age group are a marketer’s delight. With “pester power” children play a significant role in decision making and purchase choices of just about anything ranging from food items to beverages to chocolates. As consumers, children know exactly what they want and do not experiment too much with flavour or colour.
The tweenagers age group consists of children on the threshold of adolescence and as a segment are a difficult lot. Though they are not sure about their choices on an emotional plane, they are a trendy new group that is extremely savvy and self assured when it comes to taking decisions regarding consumer goods and wants. Impulse foods rule the preference scale as far as the buying behaviour of tweenagers in India is concerned. In fact, the top six expense items for tweenagers seem to be impulse foods: 17% of the total pocket money spent on ice creams, 12% on chocolates and 10% each on soft drinks and fast food according to a newspaper report in the “The Times of India”.
With increased awareness through television and advertising, tweenagers are an important influence on family decision-making in urban India. They have also mastered the art of nagging their parents into making purchases of gadgets or products that they want. Among the areas where they make their influence felt are the purchase of such items as a newly launched chocolate bar, instant noodles and breakfast cereal.
On the brink of adulthood, teenagers like to emphasize and express themselves in a manner that catches attention. They have experimental with their food with a preference towards innovative offerings but form strong opinions which they carry forward in life. They are also predisposed towards snack items as they tend to feel hungry between traditional meals. They have a lot of say about the food that they want to consume with limited parental control.
Teenagers like buying books, music and expensive branded footwear, as well as watching films and socialising with friends. Older college-going teenagers’ high school pupils tend to frequent coffee bars, which are a relatively new focal point for socialising. Teenagers are also among the regular users cinema multiplexes and entertainment zones. College-Goers A rise in the number of colleges and institutions of higher learning both government owned and privately financed has enabled a larger number of youth to graduate from their portals.
This population grew since 2000 but is set to stagnate in the forecast period with couples actually postponing the child bearing decision and some even rejecting the idea of having one at all. This age group has taken up to snacking as a way of life as they keep missing regular meals due to erratic schedules. They have longer waking hours and due to this the traditional three meals does not suffice with the need for filling snacks.
Young Adults Young adults (15-29 years old) represent the largest spending segment in the country. Youngsters are part of a middle-class boom in India. College graduates and students still studying are landing well-paying jobs in a host of emerging industries that barely existed at the start of the new millennium – retail chains, fast food restaurants, mobile phone companies, call centres and data processing firms. Many have access to disposable incomes of Rs8, 000-10,000 per month thanks to the BPO boom in India. This age group still does not have responsibilities of running a household, marriage or worry about their children’s education. Thus, this income is almost entirely spent on non-essential items. Most purchases made by this age group are on impulse. There are 16 million urban consumers in the 20-25 age groups.
Many single working professionals have to live away from their parents due to the demand of the jobs. This yuppies (young upwardly mobile professionals) class has a hard time preparing food and for them convenience is major issue. They are ready to pay a premium for quality and convenience. Also always being on the move they have a need for food item that can be easily consumed and disposed of. Middle-Aged Adults These middle aged men have strict preferences over food and they generally stick to their choices. They experiment less and go for products that will enhance their social status.
The women in this age group are ones who the primarily buy food items for the entire household though their choices are shaped by the preferences of the household members. The women in this segment play an important role as most of the choices of food items have to pass their scrutiny before it is consumed in the household. Baby Boomers The concept of baby boomers may not be that relevant to India notwithstanding the impact of and its participation in World War II. However, having been born in an age of constrained resources, this segment is somewhat cautious about its approach to consumerist tendencies although it is adopting some of them. For example, a number use mobile phones for their functional use but frown on the use of credit cards and buying branded clothing.
Health-related products, children’s education, automobiles, retirement planning, insurance products and vacations form the bulk of their expense. Pensioners In the 1950s and 1960s, government jobs were among the few acceptable job occupations for people from respectable households. Changing technology and globalisation have changed that with unconventional income opportunities now presenting themselves to Indians.
There food preferences are shaped by their health conditions and they stick to their preferred food items. From the 1980s onwards, there has been a steady migration of young adults and students to the US, in search of better opportunities. Most have chosen to settle and make their lives in that country. Therefore, their ageing parents have had to learn to continue to live independently. Retirement homes were previously viewed negatively in India. If the elderly went there, it meant they had no one to care for them, and were in a sense for the destitute elderly. In the new urban India, however, well-appointed retirement communities are mushrooming, and couples in their 60s are going there of their own volition.