Thursday, September 15, 2011

McCain : Fresh Banega , Baat Banegi

Corporate Brand : McCain
Company : McCain Foods India Ltd

Brand Analysis Count : # 495

McCain is one of the World's largest frozen foods manufacturers. This Canadian giant is known for its potato based frozen foods. McCain is a leading supplier of potato based items like French fries to leading quick service restaurants like McDonald. This giant has big plans for India.
McCain came to India in 1998. The brand primarily set up shop in India to cater to the  requirement of its major customer- McDonald's. The company started with the import of potato based products later commissioned its first production plant in India in 2007.
Frozen foods is a category in nascent stage in India.The category is now worth Rs 1000 crore including B2B segment. Bulk of this business is contributed by B2B segment which consists of restaurants and fast food joints. Slowly the B2C category is growing and McCain is making all out efforts to tap this segment.

Frozen foods has low penetration due to many reasons. Firstly the consumers are not open to the idea of frozen foods yet. Another major impediment to the growth of this category is the distribution inefficiencies. The lack of freezer space at retailers, supply chain issues , retailer reluctance to stock this product category has created huge issues for marketers trying to create this category. How ever things have changed. Consumers have started to use frozen foods and the presence of large retailers gave the much required supply chain support to this category.
Although McCain started selling its branded products in India since 1998, the effort was largely restricted to BTL activities. The brands like Smiles existed in the market for long but there was not much promotions for the brands. 
It was in 2011 that McCain launched its first TVC in India. 
Watch the TVC here : McCain 
The first commercial set in a typical modern Indian household is aimed at introducing the brand to Indian consumers . The brand did certain research on Indian consumer's mindset regarding  frozen foods found that consumers doubted the freshness of such frozen foods ( common sense !). Frozen foods were often viewed by consumers as 'Old ' stale foods. The brand also found that this impression changed after they tried out these products. So the challenge was to convince the non-users about "freshness " of frozen foods. 
It is a Herculean task for marketers to convince customers that Frozen foods are Fresh.The first ad successfully managed the difficult task of connecting the two attributes which are poles apart - Frozen & Fresh in a very subtle but effective manner. The ad makers used a story telling approach and by including the entire family unit in the ad addressed the concerns of all stakeholders of the family. 
The brand has the tagline " Fresh Banega , Baat Banegi " which emphasis on the freshness aspect. 
Although McCain's competency is in potato based products, the brand has tried to cater to the local tastes of Indian consumers. Its product range includes Indian dishes like Aaloo Tikka etc.The brand surprised the Indian market by introducing Frozen Idli which can be cooked within 3 minutes. The product is still in the market testing phase. The company has now focused on the snack food market and once the consumers are opened to this idea of frozen foods, more products like frozen meals will follow.

One of the best practice of McCain is its keen understanding of Indian consumers. The brand spent lot of time in understanding the market before entering the consumer segment. It strengthened its distribution and ensured retailer support before launching its promotions. The brand also took care of pricing to ensure that the value conscious Indian consumers are not scared away by the high prices. Usually frozen foods are expensive but McCain launched packs at price points like Rs 25 which entices consumers to try it out. Also the firm introduced its products in smaller packs because Indian refrigerators are usually small or have small freezers. The products like Smiles attract young consumers because of the form factor. So on many fronts McCain has put in lot of thoughts and innovation which will yield positive results.

The Frozen Foods category is now having lot of players including Godrej . The changing lifestyle has further strengthen the potential of frozen foods in the Indian market. It will be interesting to see how these players shape this market.