Sunday, November 11, 2007

Amul in multinational arena with snack launch

Taking a cue from the success of ITC's Bingo, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), universally known for its dairy products brand Amul, has decided to enter the branded snacks market with Munch Time, a salty snack much like Frito Lay’s Kurkure in taste.

The product is being test-marketed in Gujarat and is expected to be rolled out nationally in two months. Priced at Rs 5 a packet, the snack is targeted at teenagers and children.

The branded snacks segment has recently seen a surge in activity with the high-decibel entry of ITC’s Bingo, which has quickly grabbed 15 to 16 per cent share of the Rs 2,000 crore market from leader Frito Lay.

GCMMF first made Munch Time, which comes in masala, tomato and mint flavours, for the government’s mid-day meal programme. However, the cooperative has been quick to spot its potential in the fast-growing branded snacks segment.

“We had been thinking about launching this product for quite some time. We manufacture it at our facility in Gujarat. Based on the response to the test-marketing, we will consider a nation-wide launch,” said R S Sodhi, general manager, marketing, GCMMF.

The new snack has, however, already found its way into many stalls in neighbouring Maharashtra.

The launch of Munch Time is a significant departure for Amul, whose core business is milk and dairy products.

But the company’s distribution muscle is expected to help the company reach out to a large number of outlets. ITC’s vast distribution is seen as the key to Bingo’s success. It enjoys an exclusive presence in some shops including big retail outlets.

The new edge of competition has led Frito Lay to undertake a massive brand-building exercise for its brands.

Sodhi said GCMMF’s main challenge will be brand building. The company has already begun working on a campaign for the new product through its advertising agency FCB. The company aims to highlight its “nutritional value”.

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