Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Zipouch : Keep Fresh, Eat Safe

Brand : Zipouch
Company : UFlex (Flex Industries)

Brand Count : 254

Zipouch is again an Offbeat brand. Its is a classic case of innovation and another instance of a firm trying to tap a latent. Zipouch is a brand from Rs 1350 crore Flex Industries Ltd. Flex Industries is a leader in the B2B packaging industry and supplies packaging solutions to FMCG majors. Zipouch is an initiative of this B2B firm into the B2C segment.

Zipouch is packing solution for households. In simple terms Zipouch is storage bags for household focusing mainly on Food Storage. According to Brand Reporter Magazine, the product idea came from a similar product in an international trade exhibition in Europe in 2001. It took three years to bring the concept to the product form. Zipouch was launched in 2004.

The brand comes under Food Storage segment which is nascent in India. But it is for sure that there is a great potential for such storage solutions for households. Here the brand faces the challenge of
a. Convincing the customer about this product and its efficacy.
b. Pricing it right.
C.Gaining Distribution.

The need is evident when we look at the traditional storage style at our kitchens. Usually vegetables and fruits are kept in the Vegetable Tray in the refrigerator. And within two days, the fruits becomes unusable. If the fruits and vegetables are cut, then the fridge life will be reduced by half. It is this problem that Zipouch is trying to address. Give a storage solution for Fruits and vegetables which is convenient and healthy and along with that enhance the storage life of the food.
Zipouch not only has a product for fruits and vegetable, this brand has a range of storage solutions for the households :

Fresh 'n' lock : For fruits and vegetables
Press'n' lock : storage and freezer pack
Snack Pack: For storing snack items, for kids, can be used in School kit of kids
Assorted Snack pack: To store assortment of snacks.
Press'n'hot : For hot food items
Fresh'n'juicy : Much more stronger pack

Zipouch is taking the following qualities to promote itself :
Healthy and Safe
Retains Warmth and Freshness for longer periods
Maintains high nutritional levels
Convenient to Use
Hygienic .

Zipouch is also distinguishing itself from other plastic bags by its unique Zip ( from which it derives its brand name).The brand is targeting the SEC A+, A , B segment. The brand is being positioned as a safe and healthy way of storing food products. At the promotions front, the brand was very active in the media when it was launched but later went in for hibernation. Today's ET Brand Equity features an Ad which was the inspiration behind this post.

Having all these positive qualities need not guarantee the success of an innovative product like this. Zipouch faces lot of issues in the market. The primary issue is that of the distribution. I don't think that the brand has been able to secure a deep distribution network in the country. It is understandable since Flex Industries' is not an FMCG company and hence may have to start from the scratch. I talked to one colleague of mine who fits the Target Customer profile , it was sad to find that she was looking for such a product but was not aware that such a product was available in the market.
The second issue is that of differentiation. Although Zipouch is a new and an innovative concept , the product is such that it can be easily replicated. Hence if the market expands, it will be easy for anyone to come out with a product like Zipouch. A differentiation based on product attributes may not be sustainable. Hence the brand may have to take on a differentiation other than the Product attributes. More importantly, Zipouch may have to own a proposition that define this product so that other competing brands may not be able to make a dent. For example , the brand can own a proposition like : " Safe and Hygiene " or " Fresh and Safe ".
Early adoption of such a proposition will make the brand less vulnerable to competition. Having a patented Abbreviation like FSPT ( Fresh safe packing technology) which can act as a differentiator.

The brand has to spend a lot of money, first educating the customers about the product itself ( since the product is entirely new to the market) and also promoting this brand. The brand is retailing in the range of Rs 49- Rs 69 per 10 bags which is a very affordable range.

Zipouch is a wonderful product which has lot of potential but also lot of challenges ahead. Zipouch has got its product and price perfect but distribution is the weak point. The brand could piggyback some of the Retailing giants or FMCG majors for a distribution tie-up. It has to act fast because where there is a potential, there is competition.

Source: businessline, ET,agencyfaqs,brand reporter