PepsiCo’s push into the healthy foods market in India is truly on its way with the company launching ‘healthier’ variants of some of its most popular food products.
In late January this year, the company launched a baked version of Lay’s potato chips that Vidur Vyas, marketing director at the India Foods division at PepsiCo India, said is “specifically targeted at young women” who are conscious of what they are consuming.
Launched in 1995, the Lay’s potato chips brand today the dominant player in its category in India.
Noting that the potential for snacking in India is huge, Vyas told FoodNavigator-Asia that Lay’s baked chips are targeted at consumers who love the taste of Lay’s but want something healthier, “which this version provides with 50% less fat.”
“We have been here for practically created the organized snacks market in India. And we have developed a deep understanding of the Indian consumer. Fast evolving lifestyles mean that consumers across income strata are adding branded healthy products to meet their needs,” he said.
The healthy front
Lay’s baked is however not the only product that PepsiCo is using to enter the Indian healthy snack food market, according to Vyas, who said that portfolio also comprises Aliva, Quaker Oats and Lehar Iron Chusti.
“Aliva is targeted at the upper end of consumers who are looking for healthier & tasty options. It combines the great taste of namkeens [salted Indian snack] in a biscuit format,” he added.
Vyas explained that Aliva has been developed in India, specifically for the Indian consumer and is part of company’s journey of portfolio transformation, providing healthier and tasty snacking options in line with local consumer needs.
PepsiCo has taken the all guns blazing approach with the Quaker Oats brand, the oats-based cereal product that was launched in India in the year 2005.
The company said recently that it is investing heavily into pushing Quaker to the top of breakfast cereal market, which has traditionally been dominated by makers of cornflakes such as Kelloggs.
“Quaker penetration and also consumption per household has been growing steadily, which shows that it is being accepted by consumers across India. Our ambition is to continue doubling the business every 2 years,” said the giant.
Vyas also noted a product called Lehar Iron Chusti, which is a PepsiCo developed snack targeted at consumers at the bottom of the pyramid suffering from micronutrient deficiency.
According to Vyas, Lehar Iron Chusti is an extruded biscuit that is richly fortified with iron to deliver 25% of the RDA of iron and 50% RDA of Vitamin B1, B12 and folate.
“The products are made with wholesome local ingredients like grains, peanuts and jaggery. The test marketing of Lehar Iron Chusti in select districts of Andhra Pradesh has been a great success and we are now evaluating plans for scaling-up distribution of this product for consumers in other states,” he said.
New facility for healthy products
In September, PepsiCo said that PepsiCo India would make its existing facility near Kolkata in the state of West Bengal a hub for NPD as it expands its portfolio of health and nutritious-orientated food products.
Set up in Sankrail, the hub has already seen an investment of more than US$100bn in the plant, as well as in cold storage and distribution infrastructure. The drinks and snacks giant has doubled its installed capacity to 51,000 tonnes per annum.