New Delhi: Vikram Agarwal, Managing Director of Cornitos, one of India’s leading snacking brands that had hit the market with their Mexican Nachos crisps, spoke to The Sunday Guardian about India’s trends in the snacking market and what his company is doing to keep up with the demands and choices of the Indian youth. Excerpts:
Q: How would you review the consumer engagement post the festive season?
A: The festive season is a time when all of us flow with the festive spirit and indulge in an array of delicacies. Snacks are an indispensable part of festive celebrations and gift hampers and the festive season serves as one of our highest consumer engagement periods. We had an array of festive offerings like Indie Nuts, Nacho Fiesta, Party Pack, Festive Blaaast, and Utsava Jute Bags. This season went very well for Cornitos. All our gift packs were well received by consumers and all gift packs were sold well before Diwali. Our distribution partners also gave positive feedback.
Q: What has been the general trend that has been observed for the snacking industry in 2021 and how do you foresee the future trends in this industry?
A: Since the onset of the pandemic, there has been an overall shift towards healthier practices. Healthy snacking is a popular trend right now, and it will continue to be one of the most popular in the coming year. In order to cater to this, we have come out with immunity-building foods such as our Super Seeds, Corn Nuts, and Veggie Nachos collection, which is a combination of healthy and delectable snacks that can be devoured anytime and anywhere.
With normal life opening back up, there is also a rising need for quick but delicious food options for catching up with friends and family. We have jumped on board this DIY cooking trend by selling chef-made kits that are simple to put together on a lazy afternoon. Cornitos DIY Kits are available in three flavors: Hara Bhara Kebab Wrap, Falafel Wrap, and Shami Kebab Wrap. They’re ready to eat and can be made in about 10 minutes.
The growing demand for affordable, readily available and relatively low-cost food products in the savory snack category, especially extruded corn snacks, is forcing manufacturers to expand strongly in the product segment. With the development of new products and innovations such as multigrain chips, there is a huge opportunity for companies to establish themselves in the market as a pioneer. With this trend being the focus, we are launching Cornitos Crusties this month in six variants. They are baked, nutrient-rich snack processed with the latest technology.
Lastly, the most important shift as a society has been to sustainability. We are now more conscious than ever of our actions and their consequences for the environment. Sustainability is critical, and all companies should contribute to environmental protection. We pay close attention to the product packing. Our CornNuts, Super Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, and other Nuts and Seeds come in resealable bags that allow consumers to use them multiple times while maintaining freshness. Cornitos also introduced the Utsava Gift Range for the holiday season, an eco-friendly jute bag that can be reused.
Q: What is the trend that you have observed in India as far as food products are concerned? Do consumers like to shop online or in-store?
A: While nothing can match the experience of going to your local corner store for your snacking needs, we are slowly seeing a rise in online sales. Ever since the pandemic hit, people are more reluctant to go out to markets and have shifted to placing convenient online orders which ensure minimum interaction and contact. Online ordering also provides more variety than in-store shopping. We are fortunate to have booming sales online and in-store. However, there is a steady increase in online food shopping in India.
Q: In today’s world, health is becoming an important aspect for every individual, keeping this in mind, please throw some light on the health-conscious snacking in India?
A: Analogous to the rest of the world, India has started to make healthier choices. Consumers are now actively hunting for snacks with better ingredients and lesser cholesterol and fat percentages. It has been an important journey for us to understand this mindset shift and introduce products that fulfill the consumers’ snacking needs without compromising on their health goals. From using superfoods and protein-packed ingredients to using less oil and baking instead of frying, we have dabbled into innumerable health-conscious practices to cater to a newer, healthier India.
Q: What are the unique strategies adopted for increasing demand for products in Modern Trade Stores and how has the response been so far?
A: Modern Trade Stores enable shoppers to shop for all utilities under one roof, hence they have been gaining popularity as it provides an added advantage on safety. There are multiple ways to attract consumers that are shopping as snacks are always on their list. We provide them with healthy snack options especially with our new range of Cornitos Crusties that is going to be launched this year. We are making healthy eating tasty and filled with nutrition. We are doing branding and providing branded bins to gain more visibility in Modern Trade outlets. We have also introduced a retail-specific range that includes our best sellers. The response has been very encouraging. We expect good footfall in stores and sales during Christmas and the New Year.