Mumbai: Danone India Pvt. Ltd, the Indian arm of French dairy firm Danone SA, is launching new products in its portfolio of nutrition and dairy products meant for the healthy snack market in India. The firm on Wednesday launched Protinex Bytes, a protein multigrain biscuit meant for office-going consumers looking for a healthy snack on the go.

This is the first major extension of the Protinex brand of protein powders that Danone acquired from pharma firm Wockhardt Ltd in 2012.

“We have a strong base of consumers of the Protinex brand, so we will go to them first," Danone India managing director Rodrigo Lima said in an interview. “Protein (snacks) on the go is still a concept people in India do not have. We felt the convenience bit was missing from (the) Protinex (portfolio). This is such a new category that we do not have targets as of now," Lima said.

Danone will sell Protinex Bytes mostly in large metros.

“We are in 200,000 outlets of which 80% are pharmacies. We will of course sell in the pharmacies where we are strong, and we are looking at modern trade and at e-commerce as well," Himanshu Bakshi, director, marketing for Danone India, said.

Protinex Bytes have been priced at a premium, with a 100 gram pack for Rs145 and a 200 gram pack at Rs280, Lima said. This comes after Danone India launched a Greek Yogurt which is marketed as a protein rich healthy option for snacking between meals.

Protinex Bytes is Danone India’s 9th launch in the 10 months since January 2017.

Protinex Bytes will compete with protein and granola bars that range from large American brands like Threptin and Nature Valley and local urban brands like Yogabars, Mojo, and Eat. Most protein bars and snacks are sold to sports fitness enthusiasts, often as protein supplements useful in muscle building.

However, the overall snack market in India is dominated by the savoury snack market, in which PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt. Ltd is the largest firm with 31% market share as of calendar year 2016, as per data from Euromonitor. The largest upcoming snacking brands in India are often local, including recently listed Prataap Snacks, which sells Yellow Diamond chips, and Balaji Wafers which also sells savoury potato chips. Both brands are strong in Western India and have focused on this region.

“Health conscious consumers have started looking for products that are tasty but at the same time offer health benefits," said Suman Dabas, associate director at retail consultancy firm Technopak, in a note dated 27 February. “These attributes are also being increasingly used by brands to differentiate their products and these products demand premium in market, thus, offering higher margin for the brand."

However, Dabas said, the healthy snacks segment is still extremely niche, at 0.6-0.8% of the organized market for snacks in India. “Attempts by PepsiCo, Parle and Marico (offering consumers products such as Aliva, Monaco Smart Chips and Saffola Zest etc.) has not seen success," she said.

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