Ever since the breakout of Covid-19, immunity, safety and hygiene have become major concerns for people. Keeping these three aspects in mind, Indian FMCG brand Amul has launched a range of immunity-building products in the past three months keeping adequate safety and hygiene in mind given the current situation.
The brand has recently launched a packaged ‘Panchamrit’ product as consuming anything loose, unpacked and exchanged several hands is not considered safe. Amul has introduced the product after recognising this market need for hygienic and safe Prasada to offer deities first and then consumption by devotees.
Jayen Mehta, Sr General Manager (Planning and Marketing), Amul (GCMMF), said effective technology, packaging and a budding demand for this kind of product pushed the brand to launch a packaged Panchamrit. “The effective technology has created a shelf life of four to six months for the product without adding any preservatives to it.”
According to Mehta, the ingredients of Panchamrit are the brand’s core ingredients and it was a simple thing to develop that way. “Innovation is the need of the hour and we feel the presence of such a product in the market was needed.”
The product has been developed after due consultation with priests and devotees. The pack carries the original recipe of Panchamrit, which is well accepted since ages. It contains the five key ingredients: cow milk, curd, honey, sugar and ghee.
The product is available in a single-serve pack of 10 ml at a price Rs 2.5 per pack.
“Fortunately, we have technology and a packing system available that can pack half-a-million packs a day. We are having all the ingredients in the house and so we formulated a tasty and healthy product to offer,” Mehta said.
As of now, no advertising has been planned and word of mouth is taking the product forward. “We will soon decide on our advertising plans,” said Mehta.
At present, availability and sampling are key components of Amul Panchamrit’s marketing initiative, Mehta said.
The brand’s current focus is to make Amul Panchamrit available across the country, its extensive sampling and trial both in the temples and otherwise and creating awareness of the product.
Social media has given a lot of buzz to the product. The first communication on the brand’s social media pages was initiated by Amul’s in-house sales team, which became a huge viral campaign online.
Panchamrit will be available at Amul parlours, e-commerce platforms and retail counters. Across India, Amul has about 200 Amul parlours near or within the temple complex.
The brand has plans to create different Panchamrit recipes for different markets.
Mehta said Amul is not looking at the growth of the product in terms of volume and that the brand is trying to connect with one more ritual or activity of the consumer in his/her daily life.
“If a brand gets a space into the daily ritual, it is not looking at volumes of value and growth out of it. It is rather an opportunity to connect with the consumer to one more daily ritual,” said Mehta.
“The typical matrix applied to any other FMCG product is not applied to this product; we are evaluating this product with a reach point. How many times and how many places we are reaching to consumers. It’s not a volume product for us neither we would like to treat it like one,” Mehta said.
He said the opportunity to reach out to consumer base is huge and immense and the brand is just looking at touch points of the customer.
However, the addressable market for the product is not big. “At home, puja is one and consumption is one, going to temple and taking it as a prasad is one and putting it on a puja thaal is another,” said Mehta.
He said the brand has already started getting enquiries’ for bhog and distribution at temples.
“Having all these perspectives, we are still in early days and maybe after a couple of months once the product reaches the length and breadth of the country, we will able to guess the market sentiments,” said Mehta.
According to him, the brand has a strong distribution chain and so making the product available is not the issue. “The strength of distribution will take the product anywhere the customer wants,” Mehta said.
Entering the Panchamrit category could be easy for other players but the technology barrier will be challenging.
Mehta mentioned two reasons that can be a challenge for other players after they enter the category.
“For keeping the product packaged with a four to six months shelf life will require a pretty high-end technology at manufacturing units. The price point on which Amul is selling the product is very nominal and it can be tough for other players to compete at that price point.”
“We are a formidable player and we have a cutting edge technology available along with in-house quality raw material,” said Mehta.
Speaking on gaining consumer trust on the product, Mehta said, “If it’s Amul, then the doubt on quality gets less anyway. But we have taken steps to ensure that proper ritualistic ingredients are used in the making of the product.”
The packet is packed in a sterile environment in a plant and then put in a plastic pouch and then in a box, so the final consumer will be the first person to open it.
This product is being packed at a state-of-the-art aseptic manufacturing plant in Gujarat.
The hygiene standards are highest in the plant and these things are taken for granted because that’s the part of the design of the product itself and the processing.
Mehta said the minds at Amul are working on generating more immunity-based products. In the coming three months, the focus will only be on making the product available. “We all have become health conscious and building immunity. In the post-Covid era, concerns for building immunity will be high only,” he said.
The core ingredient of all the products launched by the brand in lockdown is known to the mass. “Haldi, ginger or ashwagandha is consumed for centuries in the country and we have tried to make it available in a convenient and tastier way to the customer,” Mehta said.
“These immunity-boosting products will never go out of fashion and we have popularised the usage and benefits of these ingredients.”
The brand will soon launch a couple of products like honey doodh, star anise doodh, haldi icecream, three-in-one chocolate. “White chocolate with haldi, ginger and tulsi, a single bar with three different products and colour,” Mehta said.