PepsiCo gives Kurkure a hyperlocal twist with regional flavours
PepsiCo has expanded into the Indian namkeen segment with Twistkeen under Kurkure
New Delhi: Two decades after American food and beverage company PepsiCo Inc. introduced Kurkure to sell corn puffs in India, its local entity PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt Ltd is making the brand hyperlocal, with something relevant for each of the Indian states, hoping to double business by 2022.
On Wednesday, the company expanded into the Indian namkeen segment with Twistkeen under Kurkure – one of the eights brands that generate more than Rs 1,000 crore each year. Kurkure Twistkeen—a baked namkeen, comes in three variants—developed in line with tastes and flavours similar to popular regional snacks Bikaneri bhujia, Andhra’s murukku and Shahi flavoured namkeens.
“There will be a few more variants of Twistkeen,” said Jagrut Kotecha, vice-president (snacks), PepsiCo India, adding that the company sees extensions of Kurkure to contribute around 50% revenue of the entire Kurkure portfolio within the next 5-7 years. At present, Kurkure corn puffs account for more than 70% of the business.
“Twistkeen expands Kurkure’s presence into the ‘finger food’ segment, a step ahead from only ‘palm food’ so far,” Kotecha said, adding that the new products will be sold across 18 cities with focus on modern trade, e-commerce and select traditional outlets, and will be available in two pack sizes priced at Rs 15 and Rs 55. This is despite the fact that about 70% of the snacks market is dominated by Rs 5 and Rs 10 packets.
The drive to go hyperlocal with brand Kurkure started earlier this year with the company revamping the packaging of Kurkure—playing with colours with its “break the clutter” in the India’s hyper-competitive savoury snacks market that has an estimated 3,200 contenders.
While Haldiram Foods International Pvt. Ltd, which sells products under the brand Haldirams, has a nationwide presence, the majority of the other players such as Balaji Wafers Pvt. Ltd and Prataap Snacks Pvt. Ltd, makers of Yellow Diamond chips, have region-specific presence.
PepsiCo India, which launched Kurkure in 1999 and started extending the brand 5-6 years after that and brought some of other snacks brands under Kurkure umbrella a few years ago, has made a few not-so-successful attempts to extend brand Kurkure in the past.
In May 2016, PepsiCo extended the brand to other salted snacks, including navratan mix, chilli chatka, khatta meetha mix and aloo bhujia, hoping to counter homegrown Haldiram Foods International Pvt. Ltd, its biggest competitor in the snacks segment, that has been selling these products since 2003.
But these extensions did not do much for Kurkure. According to Euromonitor, the market share of PepsiCo’s corn puff brand Kurkure dropped to 3.1% (retail value) in 2017 from 4.4% in 2013.
“With Kurkure Twistkeens, we aim to create an entirely new category in the salty snacks industry like we did with Kurkure corn puffs over the years. We are confident that this will resonate well with consumers and will prove to be another significant step in our goal to double our salty snacks business in India over the next five years,” Kotecha said.
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