Weekends are probably the only days when most working Indians have a satisfying traditional breakfast. As fancy as the various breakfast cereals available in the market might be, we crave the satisfaction that only a traditional dish can give. So those stressed for time are forced to make do with instant oats, cornflakes or muesli. Pour in milk and eat. As simple as that.
It is this no-fuss approach that MTR Foods is now bringing to dishes like upma, poha, oats and kesari halwa. Pour in hot water, keep for exactly three minutes and eat. Reportedly, company CEO Sanjay Sharma gave the three-minute challenge to his R&D team to beat the roughly eight minutes that it takes to prepare existing instant breakfast dishes, including the company’s own products. And, the company is betting big on the five-minute advantage.
“Our single serve packs are priced at a very affordable Rs 20. The cups are priced at Rs 45-50. These cups can be taken along and food can be eaten even while in transit,” said Sunay Bhasin, CMO, MTR Foods. The company is looking at the segment as a Rs 1,000-crore opportunity. MTR Foods had earlier entered the breakfast market with instant idli, upma and multigrain mixes.
You may also like to watch:
Last month, PepsiCo’s Quaker India launched Quaker Nutri Food — the oatmeal versions of traditional breakfast options such as idli, dosa, upma and khichdi to suit Indian tastebuds. These are conventional Indian breakfast options, but with 40-50% oats and vegetable content. At a price tag of Rs 40, the Quaker Food Packs will be sold at modern and traditional retail outlets.
“Given the rushed lifestyles of urban consumers today, there is a need for healthy options in easy-to-adopt formats. At the same time, consumers told us they don’t want to compromise on taste, so we took popular breakfast recipes like idli, dosa and upma and made them healthier,” says Deepika Warrier, vice-president (nutrition category), PepsiCo India.
As per market observers, companies such as Quaker India and MTR Foods will be exploring more options in traditional foods following Patanjali Ayurved’s expansion in the Indian food market. Patanjali is eyeing the food market in a big way and has announced that its business plan for Patanjali restaurants is underway.
In organised retail, Patanjali has already launched its product range in categories such as flour, rice, and noodles, which is pushing companies like Quaker, MTR and ITC to focus on the regional food category. When international fast food chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s entered India, they, too, had to tweak their menus and add more vegetarian and traditional food options to suit the Indian market.
Industry experts believe that healthy instant breakfast options offered by these companies will overtake instant meal options such as Nissin’s Cup Noodles and Maggi’s Cuppa Mania. Rural markets in Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and parts of western Uttar Pradesh will be guiding the growth of the processed food industry in India and form the lion’s share of the demand for ready-to-eat meals.