Monday, October 1, 2018

SOULFULL – A Balanced Diet

Exactly a year ago, while I was walking through the aisles of a leading supermarket, a salesman approached me with a packet of new breakfast cereal which he said is unique from the competition. I quickly surfed through the packet and returned with my usual comment “Will try next time”. However being a curious marketer, the packet haunted me a lot. Before I left, I went back to him and got one for trial. On a second look at the product, my mind was suspicious about whether this brand will succeed. The shelves of supermarkets today confirms that I was wrong. My son has become a fan of the brand. ‘SOULFULL’ is the brand I was talking about.

Knowing the soul of the consumer is what Soulfull has done. Over the past few years, there is a renewed interest among Indian consumers towards traditional foods. Thanks to the likes of Patanjali, paperboat etc. Soulfull also tried with traditional as well as a healthy formula but with a different category of cereal – Raagi which to me was a risky proposition fared well for them.

Breakfast cereals are not common to us. Kellogs is a household name today with an array of products based on cereals like corn, wheat and Oats. A few others are also there in the approximately ₹26.1 billion Indian breakfast cereal market. Apart from that, the consumer behaviour also have changed drastically over the years. Ready – to – cook breakfast foods which was once evaded is widely accepted nowadays. Although hot cooked breakfast is dominant in the country increased exposure of Indians made cold breakfast also acceptable. I believe this acted as cushion for Soulfull to launch its Raagi based products in the market.

The product portfolio is pretty balanced as it includes Raagi flakes and Bites, Museli (Millet and Desi), Rago(A combination of Raagi and Oats), Oat Millet Meal and Millet Smoothix – an instant drink. They also sell instant dosa mix. The beauty is it serves breakfast, snacks as well as meal which is a unique portfolio by a category creator. The products are rich in nutrition, zero preservatives used and very little water needed for preparation claims the company. I strongly feel that the brand has touched the sweet spot with their product portfolio as of now.

Soulfill is priced at a premium. The price of all their products is ahead of the competition. One argument, I presume is the absence of Raagi based brands in the market. However, can they grab market share and sustain in the market? Even after more than four years of existence in the market they remain as a market niche or at the most a distant challenger.

The market segment they operate is more or less the same as their competitors. The loopies and choco fills are directed towards the kids while all the others like museli, Rago, Oat Millet meal target the urban youth and mothers. The only Point of Difference I feel is that Soulfill is Raagi based while others are not.

Above - the - line promotion is something missing for the brand. Since its inception, the brand was focussed in below - the - line promotion. It helped in enhancing the store presence of the product and initiate a trial but the absence of mass TVCs hinders the growth of the brand. Very recently, a commercial has been screened but it lacks creativity. The script revolves around the age-old monster gimmick to attract the kids. Unfortunately, the creativity punch is missing in way of jingles, or taglines.

In my view the start for Soulfull is perfect, but to sustain is a challenge. They solved the biggest challenge of making raagi delicious and had shown a reasonable presence in the category. Now the stage is set to leapfrog.     

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