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Breakfast of Champions

BY Imran Fazal

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Q] Quaker Oats recently entered into the ready-to-eat segment. What was the idea behind this move, don’t you think Quaker is a little late to enter the ready-to-eat segment?
We were one of the first brands to launch in the market with Quaker Oats. We understand what consumers want, and that is how we actually operate, rather than concentrating on what others are doing around us.
Consumer centricity is what is at the heart of our innovations in that sense. When we did the research we realized that 44% of people were skipping out on their breakfast during the pandemic, because of their hectic lives. The hectic life has only continued to increase because people have gone back to work, and there is always a constant need to run and be on the move. We realize that there is a gap, and we intend to fill the gap by entering into the ready-to-eat cereal category. Hence, the launch of muesli. Of course, we’ve been thinking about it for a while because the research study was done some time ago. It’s just that we were waiting for the right time.

Q] Today, Indian consumers have become demanding and are always looking for multiple flavours. How does Quaker intend to meet the consumer demand based in different parts of India?
That’s an interesting question. So, honestly, like the other categories, flavours in muesli or I would say in ready-to-eat cereal, work very differently. There are more variants when compared to flavours, because it is about grains, it is about fruits, nuts, and seeds. It is about those inclusions that go well with muesli. Just to tell you a little bit about the product. So, those flavours or we call it variants, they work in a fashion where there is no multi-textural experiences that we provide to the consumer with the different variants that we have. For example, there is a food and nut variant. There are berries and seeds, and we’ve realized that consumers are preferring such ingredients.

Q] What marketing strategies will Quaker utilize to maximize the reach and to increase the sales for this product?
We are in the initial launch phase and we will continue to build on that with our presence. We started with more modern channels, such as e-commerce, modern trade, and eventually we are going to expand to retail as well. In terms of the kind of marketing mix that we are looking at would also follow the same path because it is the channel approach in terms of launches, the marketing mix would also kind of build to that. So we are looking to be present on digital, to be present on social media. We will also continue to look at a more mass medium kind of approach. And of course, being present on ground in terms of visibility.

Q] How different is the oatmeal market scenario in India as compared to abroad?
There is a slight difference between the global markets and the Indian market. The global market is more involved when it comes to oatmeal and breakfast options in general. There are plenty of them available, but yes, the Indian market is also kind of gearing up for that. We also see a lot of healthy options available for consumers in India. Oatmeal is also evolving and we have seen a major shift after Covid. We have been growing, and now people have become more health conscious after the pandemic.

Q] What innovative strategies does Quaker utilize to connect with the consumers?
We do a couple of things, one of them is being actively present on social media. We use our handles to talk about recipes, and how you can make them exciting in your day-to-day life. Also, how they can make festivals more nutritious in that sense.

We also have a YouTube channel that we work on, called the Quaker India handle, where we actually have a section that is called DIY Breakies and Festive Breakies. We also work with influencers at times to encourage consumers to make interesting recipes with nutritious grains like Quaker, and help them engage with that. In that way, we engage with the consumers well.

Q] There are multiple oatmeal products and ready-to-eat variants available in the Indian market, whom do you consider as a competition?
I think we consider the fact that we need to compete with ourselves. So, we just need to get better. I would honestly say that each category is different from the other, and we need to build and reach out to our consumers, catering to the different needs that they have. So, we have the plain oats, and multigrain muesli. I think we have enough within ourselves to kind of compete with in that sense. So, I would say it would be us.

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