The move is a departure from its previous strategy to introduce consumers to a global menu, but the Indian breakfast market has seen consumers switching from Western cereals to traditional Indian or healthier alternatives.
HUL’s new offerings of khichdi, upma and pongal – to be launched under the company’s Ayurveda brand Ayush – will be made of jowar, bajra and other millets.
Khichdi - a salty porridge made from rice, lentils or sago
Dalia - a sweet porridge made from the crushed wheat or barley mixed with sugar and milk
Upma - thick porridge from dry roasted semolina or coarse rice flour
Pongal - a popular rice breakfast boiled with milk and jiggery
Idli - a type of savoury rice cake, popular as breakfast foods, made from steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils and rice
Uttapam - a thick pancake with toppings cooked into the batter
Dhokla – made with a fermented batter derived from rice and split chickpeas
“With our brand vision of traditional ingredients being made contemporary, we will be able to democratise the benefits of ayurveda-inspired recipes to the Indian consumer and do our part in making India healthy,” said Geetu Verma, executive director, Foods at HUL.
The products will give competition to the ready-to-cook breakfast products of Kellogg's, Bagrry, PepsiCo and and Patanjali as the players scrabble to grab a share of the Rs 3,000 crore ($440m) breakfast market.
During the past few years, a bunch of multinational and homegrown firms – including Bagrry’s India, Marico, ITC, MTR Foods and Dr Oetkers – made inroads in the breakfast market with products such as muesli, oats and ready-to-cook idli, uttapam and dhokla as consumer demand rose for healthier, ready-to-cook breakfast.
Last month, Nestle India announced it is adding breakfast cereals from joint venture Cereal Partners Worldwide to its portfolio, while Baba Ramdev's Patanjali – which already sells ready-to-eat dalia, oats and cornflakes – has announced it plans to launch Indian breakfast products later this year.
In March, PepsiCo launched a ready-to-cook range tailored to local tastes, a decade after the company brought the Quaker brand to India to sell packaged breakfast items.
The ‘Better-for-You’ idli, dosa, upma and khichdi – sold under the label Quaker Nutri Foods – were developed in collaboration with celebrity chef Vikas Khanna and can be cooked in 3-5 minutes. Its aim is to make Quaker Nutri Foods a five-day-a-week breakfast option for consumers.
“We’ve realised that to win in nutrition in India, we need to tap into local nutrition needs and offer local products which suit the palettes of the Indian consumers,” said Deepika Warrier, PepsiCo’s India vice-president for nutrition.