Recently, Britannia Industries, the maker of Good Day, Milk Bikis, Marie Gold biscuits, among others, announced the launch of its coffee flavoured cracker, Biscafe. With this launch, the company aims to target the new-age coffee drinkers looking for a differentiated experience. Amit Doshi, chief marketing officer, Britannia Industries, talks to BrandWagon Online, about the idea behind the roll-out of the new product, besides its association with director and film producer Karan Johar. (Edited Excerpts)
Britannia’s revenue from operations stood at Rs 12,379 crore in FY21 as compared to Rs 10,986 crore in FY20. What have been the factors driving the growth?
It’s been a combination of two or three things. They have been driven by volume growth in the first half but over the second half of 2020 and the balance part of the year, we saw volume growth slow down a little bit. Furthermore, a lot of our revenue growth has come on the back of price increases, besides innovations in different categories.
You have recently launched the coffee flavored cracker Biscafe. What was the idea behind the launch?
The cracker category is one of the largest categories in the biscuit segment, and Britannia has historically been a strong player in the segment. What we have entered through the launch of Biscafe is the coffee cracker segment, which is an accompaniment for coffee. We noticed that over the last few years, coffee culture has really grown in India. When we listened to social media and spoke to consumers, what came out clearly was that there was a gap in the market. This is where Bicafe comes into play.
What are the price points and target audience?
There are two price points, Rs 10 for 37 gms pack and Rs 30 for a 100 gms pack. It’s designed to appeal more to a modern, young consumer looking for a new and different experience. Infact, the whole coffee culture is built on the back of modern young consumers.
You onboarded Karan Johar for marketing the product. How do you plan to leverage this association?
There has been a strong association between Karan Johar and coffee. We felt that Johar is a great fit for the brand. He is someone who the youth connects with. We stepped out of the traditional 30-second TVC and tried to break that with the Biscafe launch. Our campaign with Johar caught the fancy of folks on social media. With this campaign, we have tested a new form of marketing model which is rooted in social media, social media influencers and more importantly in conversations with consumers. Engagement marketing is something we are trying to experiment with.
Given that you are targeting new-age consumers, is the distribution strategy too aligned more towards the digital platforms?
The new launch was made available online before offline stores. However, there are very few consumers who would exclusively shop online and while online has really grown, it is still a small part of the overall biscuits category. So the distribution strategy relies on all three key channels – e-commerce marketplaces, modern trade outlets and large grocery stores. Other than that, we are also looking at large-scale sampling to make sure that the right consumer discovers the product and has an opportunity to try it out.
During the pandemic, what role have online platforms played?
The contribution of online platforms is still very small and is under five percent. We have seen a spurt in online growth but there is still a long way to go. The Covid environment provided encouragement as far as online commerce adoption is concerned and we are quite bullish on the opportunities that online presents to us. We work closely with all our e-commerce partners to make sure that we are tapping into the opportunity and we are also making the changes required internally to address the growth opportunities that e-commerce presents.
What are the expectations from this fiscal and any plans of entering into new categories or innovations?
Over the last few years, Britannia has innovated within the core. If you look at Milk Bikis, it was a regional brand and with a fresh proposition of Doodh Roti Ki Shakti, we made it national.
We launched multiple innovations in the last few months. For instance, we launched a regional brand called 5050 Golmaal in the eastern part of the country, Potazos and Goodday Harmony was also launched last year. In Tamil Nadu, we have launched Marie Gold Jeera.
As for our adjacent categories, we have made an impressive mark in the thick milkshakes category where Winkin Cow has turned into a Rs 100-crore brand. We launched Croissants sometime back which we are now taking nationally. Our wafers are also doing well.
We will continue to build new and premium experiences in biscuits but we are equally focussed on developing our adjacent businesses.
Your ad spends in FY21 stood at Rs 381 crore compared to Rs 412 crore in FY20. What was the allocation in FY22 and plans for this fiscal?
The last few quarters have been tight. We have watched the expenditure carefully because inflation has been sky high. It has been difficult to maintain prices. In some cases, we have had to increase prices, in other cases, we have been very watchful of maintaining them. Therefore, we have had to rightsize our ad spends. As the market continues to absorb the price increases, we will certainly improve the investment pattern as far as our brands are concerned.
Having said that, the core of our portfolio which is built around big brands such as Good Day, Marie Gold, NutriChoice, we will always stay invested and consistently active on those brands.
As far as our media investments are concerned, we have traditionally been television heavy and it continues to have an important role to play in terms of mass reach. We are focussed on different consumer cohorts and we are seeing some of the media consumption trends shifting.
While traditional media continues to have the largest share in terms of media investments, over the last few quarters, we have seen the contribution of digital increase.