Branding the Basic

I’m back! After a long holiday and one more week of absence due to not having computer access, it feels good to be back! Absence from the blog world sometimes feels almost like being banished to a remote outpost of civilization, that’s how addictive it can become.

I thought I would start off with some thoughts on one of the first hoardings I noticed on my return to India. Dropping into Chennai, I found many hoardings plastered with well known character actor Prakash Raj’s face, promoting a new product called ‘Krd Rys’. Now, as a native Tamilian myself, I’ve been the butt of many a curd rice jeer, but there is no denying that the plain and simple curd rice is nevertheless a favourite in the state. Garnished with some roasted dal, mustard seeds, chillies and some coriander, it can even take on a modest gourmet avatar. But, a branded curd rice!

Thats still a concept tough for me to appreciate. It looks as if such a product would mainly be for out-of-home consumption, say eating in at work. But, most South Indians get all the curd rice they want, at home. Would we order something like this for lunch as well? Or, even if we wanted to, its such a simple dish that its easily available at the smallest of hotels that serve “meals”. Younger audiences such as school and college-goers, I somehow can’t see them picking up such an unglamorous meal, even if it comes with a fancy sms-ed up name. And Housewives? Are you kidding! Rs. 10 is cheap , but spending that on basic curd rice which is so easily available at home…

I don’t know if the product is being aimed at the city’s non-local population. Chennai is increasingly acquiring a non-native population, but again, these are mostly North Indians, and curd rice is unlikely to be a popular choice with them. I am also wondering what sort of storage the product requires. If it requires a cold chain (without which curd could very likely turn sour), then it may be sold mainly in supermarkets/large stores – not the sort of place one picks up a quick meal from usually. Ofcourse Hatsun Foods, which owns the brand, could use its Arun Ice cream facilities, but the mind boggles at the thought of an indulgence product like ice cream and the humble curd rice at the foot ladder being sold together…

A Hindu Businessline article on the launch says, “Details of the investment have not been disclosed but the thinking behind the launch of the product is evident.” Not so, methinks. Perhaps readers could share their thoughts and enlighten me?

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13 Comments

  1. Branded thayir sadam? chee chee! ewww! gag! and words to that affected! Brands are for outfits and accessories – not for the quintessential basics of life. word.

  2. I would assume that the target audience would be bachelors, hostel goers and travelers? And perhaps airline and train caterers? Even that is an unspecified hazy group, as they would have easy access to the Saravana Bhavans and other restaurents, not to mention homes. My Take? – This venture would not be sell like ‘hot cakes’!

  3. if there can be branded Dahi… curd rice at least takes more processing than that!!
    Then of course, there is that “hygiene” titanic that all of India is riding on.

  4. DG, Meera, agree, agree!

    How do we know – you have a point logically speaking; Still, isnt it easier to buy dahi and eat it alone/with rice when you feel like it, rather than ready-to-eat curd rice which may not taste good after some time? If the product is store-able for some time, then perhaps it could find a niche…not sure if it is..

  5. yes me too surprised at the product- but u cant predict kids- yesterday at GRT buffet- a kid was gorging on curd rice- a huge qty that too…

    btw, drop in to my blog- i am waiting with bated breath for comments- traffic v low nowdays. somehow from office i cnat see the page views so dont know what is the traffic like

  6. ‘Krd Rys’?

    The butchering of the spellings leave me senseless.

  7. itchy, in a buffet, the mentality is always to eat as much of anything as you can 🙂 ! my point is not so much that curd rice per se is not liked, no way, we love it! but somehow the its one of those things that seems too basic to shell out money for, and that too as a packaged item…

    Megha, the “butchering” as you call it, is meant to be, like, yo man, i am cool!

  8. ending a five-star buffet with curd rice is one thing; buying branded thayir sadam is something else entirely.

    btw, the thayir sadam at Dakshin / Taj etc? AWESOME! (yeah yeah pater shelled out Rs 350 for a bowlful of thayir sadam for mater – when it arrived, we fought for it like mad dogs! delectable doesnt even begin to describe it!)

  9. […] “….Thats still a concept tough for me to appreciate. It looks as if such a product would… […]

  10. i think they will have good trials

    i plan to at least though there is tonnes of curd at any point of time at home!!

    not sure about the repeat buys though

  11. Apparently, krd rice has been given space along with coke and pepsi even in mom and pop shops. People have taken this product very well. This is probably because working people cannot have good curd rice for lunch if they have not packed it themselves.

  12. art, pratap – good to see the other POV. Pratap, you mention mom-and-pop stores – thats interesting – I would have thought its too bulky to fit into the regular pepsi chillers ?

  13. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce


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