The company will now introduce a new brand called Nestle Actiplus Dahi, phasing out the old Nesvita brand, as part of a more aggressive strategy to push the probiotic product in to Indian homes, the company said in a statement.
According to Himanshu Manglik, communications manager at Nestle India, the company was the first to launch such a product in India, and it has been working extensively to increase familiarity with the concept of probiotics.
“Our strategy has evolved and has switched from merely establishing the concept of probiotics to establishing the active benefit that probiotics can provide,” said Manglik, adding that new brand launch is part of this new strategy.
Manglik pointed out that probiotics is a relatively new phenomenon in India and consumers do not understand the benefits fully, which has kept the market relatively small in the country.
“But, as consumers become more aware and educated on the science of health, they are transitioning from plain packaged dahi to more value added and specialised probiotic dahi products. We expect to start growing the market now,” he said.
Manglik added the company's continuing research with consumers has confirmed the insight that busy lifestyles and increased stress are causing frequent digestive discomfort for many of today's professionals.
“We all know how difficult it is to be at our best when we have digestive discomfort. This is where probiotics makes the difference,” said Manglik, indicating that the growing working class is the target segment for probiotic products in India.
On the question of whether probiotic dahi can make an impact like probiotic drinks such as Danone's Yakult has, given the traditional affinity of Indians for homemade dahi, Manglik said that there are two sides to the same coin.
“There is certainly potential since dahi is already a part of the main meal and there is no need to create a new consumption habit. With growing awareness and understanding that specific probiotics have specific benefits this potential will only increase,” he said.