Increasing awareness about healthy living is driving the sales of premium yogurt brands in the country. And reaping the direct benefits is Epigamia, which makes flavoured yogurt, Greek yogurt, smoothies and mishti doi.
The Indian diary start-up, which raised funds from the investment arm of Danone, is expecting to double its business year-on-year. The brand, which is in partnership with actress Deepika Padukone, is eyeing to scale up its business in large numbers.
Siddarth Menon, CMO, Epigamia, shared how the brand is planning to scale up its business. As it expands across geographies, with new variants under its product portfolio, he explained how advertising and the marketing game will change accordingly for the brand.
Drums Foods International, which kicked off operations in 2008 with its ice-cream brand ‘Hokey Pokey’, had entered a new product category, Epigamia Greek Yogurt, in 2016.
The company became the first to launch Greek yogurt at a time when yogurt or flavoured yogurt was not part of the consumption market in India, except for a few existing competitors. The brand now contributes 70% of the company’s total revenue.
Menon believes this market is one of the fastest-growing categories as consumers nowadays have an inherent understanding of healthy and fresh products.
“In India, there is a concern and understanding for healthy products that are fresh. It is something that has become un-debatable. We are very accustomed to having home-cooked food, which is fresh. We add a premium to this concept of fresh. Now as consumers are moving out of home and having food outside a lot more, their demand for fresh products across all consumption baskets is growing. Being fresh with a short shelf life, the product category is growing. Consumers are naturally gravitating to fresh food,” Menon said.
The brand eyes a set of core consumers from the top 25 cities to drive 80% of its business. With 10,000 outlets today, over the next two years, the company plans to ramp up its distribution to 50,000 outlets across more than 25 cities. In the last four years, it has managed to increase its business base both in terms of the number of stores and consumers. “There's a lot of confidence as we have expanded our reach. In the last four years, we've managed to build a very robust distribution infrastructure. The response from customers has given us the confidence to increase our product range, moving from five towns to 25 cities by the end of this year. We are looking forward to double our business year-on-year,” said Menon.
A lot of retailers do not have infrastructure to maintain the range of products the brand offers. And so educating them on how to maintain the chilled infrastructure and assuring them that a product like yogurt can be sold are key challenges the brand faces. But since the product is getting traction, retailers are increasing their chilled space as consumers are demanding chilled products and fresh products that have to be kept in the fridge — giving the brand enough confidence to invest in the category.
The brand has also made its presence felt online through Bigbasket, Swiggy and Amazon.
Till last year, it spent a lot of money on BTL activities to build a base of 10,000 stores. Some part was spent on digital and a little more in print and outdoors. “As we go forward, we will see a lot more spends on digital and traditional media in the next two years. Till now, we spent about 70% on BTL and 30% on ATL. Going forward, it will be opposite. Our plan is to be digital heavy and minimal in print and outdoors,” Menon said.
The brand recently launched a commercial, #YourHappyBalance, on digital platforms to tell its story. The commercial featured Deepika Padukone as part of her strategic partnership with the brand.
Commenting on how her involvement accelerated growth, Menon said, “She is already on board as a shareholder and strategic advisor. And we are already working with her team to build plans for the future. She has shared some product ideas, which we will embrace and are working towards building those going forward.”
With a belief in innovating fresh products, the brand is trying to push boundaries by infusing new flavours in traditional products. It is looking to experiment with new categories such as cottage cheese.