It isn’t just instant noodles and instant soups you’d be getting from Hindustan Unilever anymore as the country’s largest consumer goods firm is making plans to launch traditional South Asian breakfast dishes like Pongal, khichdi, and upma.
The new products are set to be unveiled under its Ayurveda brand Ayush and will be made be made of millets such as jowar and bajra. They will mainly compete with MTR, Kellogg’s, PepsiCo and Marico. The breakfast market is currently valued to be at 3,000-crores and consumers have been increasingly switching from western cereals to healthier alternatives including traditional breakfast options.
This move by Hindustan Unilever is seen as a pre-emptive move aimed at competing with Patanjali, which sells dalia, corn-flakes, and oats but is planning to bring out similar products later this year. HUL has also said that it will address some of the key barriers in the packaged food sector such as the use of preservatives and other health concerns that have led to the low consumption of such items in India.
“Lever Ayush Foods marks our entry into the health and naturals food segment. With our brand vision of traditional ingredients being made contemporary, we will be able to democratize the benefits of Ayurveda inspired recipes to the Indian consumer and do our part in making India healthy,” ET reported Geetu Verma, executive director – foods at HUL. The new range will be test-marketed at Chennai.
Experts say that the consumers now have a bigger appetite for protein over carbohydrates. “Indians are moving to packaged breakfast options and the main switch is happening between traditional, home-cooked breakfast to easier solutions like ready to cook or eat options,” said Aditya Bagri to ET, director at Baggry’s that sells muesli, oats, and cornflakes. “There is a segment looking for healthy or functional stuff and also for solutions to our traditional foods made easy.”
Ayush, which was originally launched in 2001, was relaunched in the personal care space with several mass-market products including, soaps, toothpaste, skin creams, etc. The consumers have also seen shifting towards natural or herbal brands, mostly in personal care, especially after Patanjali’s entry. It is to be noted that Nestle India announced last month that it will be adding breakfast cereals to its portfolio.