Hindustan Unilever, the country largest consumer goods firm, plans to launch traditional South Asian breakfast options such as khichdi, upma, and Pongal in a pronounced deviation from its earlier strategy to familiarise the Indian shopper with a more global menu, which included noodles and pre-mixed soups.
The new products made of millets such as jowar and bajra under its ayurveda brand Ayush, will mainly compete with MTR, Kellogg’s, PepsiCo and Marico in the Rs 3,000-crore breakfast market, where consumers have been switching from western cereals to either traditional Indian or healthier alternatives.
Hindustan Unilever’s entry into the segment is also seen as a preemptive move aimed at taking the fight to Patanjali, which sells dalia, corn-flakes, and oats but also has plans to launch similar products later this year. The Indian unit of Anglo-Dutch consumer giant, however, said it will address some of the key barriers such as the use of preservatives and health concerns around packaged foods that have led to the low consumption of such items in India.
In India, the packaged food market is heavily skewed toward biscuits and salty snacks that together is nearly Rs 50,000 crore in size.