Fuelled by the mission to bring back traditional Indian grains into the spotlight, Prashant Parmeswaran set up Kottaram Agro Foods in June 2011. Soulfull – the flagship brand of Kottaram has now successfully established its presence in the millet-based snacks and breakfast category in India. The brand is currently available in 6000 stores across 12 cities in India and aims to expand rapidly to 20,000 stores this year.
Prashant realised the potential of traditional Indian grains with its multiple health benefits and identified the growing demand of superfoods in countries across the world.
Prashant Parameswaran – MD, Soulfull – Kottaram Agro Pvt. Ltd. tells us about Soulfull, how brands are communicating in the festive season and much more.
What is Soulfull, and what made you start this venture?
Soulfull is a good-for-you foods brand that believes in bringing millets and it’s holistic benefits, in contemporary, innovative formats, to as many Indian families households as possible. PrashantParameswaran, Managing Director of Kottaram Agro Foods, the parent company of breakfast cereal brand Soulfull, has always come home to some kind of agriculture-related conversation. With his forefathers actively involved in the Green Revolution, agriculture has always been of great importance and interest to Prashant. Around the early 2000s, the US health and wellness market was starting to pick up. “I studied quinoa in-depth. At the same time, I was trying to understand if there was a way in which millets could really make it back to the shelves”, Prashant says. Our mission to bring back traditional Indian grains into the spotlight via products that fulfills honest, clean nutrition.
‘Fills category’, an innovation in kids snacking in India almost 9 years back. What has happened to this initiative?
The Fills category that started as a innovation in the kids’ snacking space has created a significant dent in the market, capturing share and making bigger players in the category to pivot and participate. This has been not just been an encouraging validation for us but also makes us believe that more can be done in making the healthy snacking space more accessible in India. Consumers embrace good, healthy products that have no nasties when they are tasty. This initiative has also helped us strengthen our flagship brand “Ragi Bites” and we have widened its portfolio into No-Maida Breakfast cereals and Namkeen Baked snacks.
This year all festivities are muted thanks to COVID 19, Diwali is also going to be celebrated by staying home, what would be Brand communication this year going to be?
From the onset of the festive season, we believe that the consumer sentiment on-ground is more hopeful filled with anticipation and a yearning for good times ahead to be spent with their loved ones. Our brand communication reaches out to young families. Building onto our existing brand communication tone that is honest, intimate and genuine – we have begun our digital campaign #GiftHealthToYourLovedOnes keeping the festive spirits high.
Where do you see gifting this year during the festive season?
#GiftHealthToYourLovedOnes is our festive campaign this year, where our consumers can gift our new product “Healthy Delight” to their loved ones with a customized photo and/or a message. Healthy Delight is a scrumptious, rich mix of dry fruits, nuts and seeds – key, quality ingredients that make our products healthy and tasty. The response has been very warm with both our existing and new customers sharing their personal moments with us for us to be able to make this happen for them in a short span of time.
We have spoken to brands regarding their strategies in the new normal, but what will their strategies be for the festive season?
From the onset of the festive season, we believe that the consumer sentiment on-ground is more hopeful filled with anticipation and a yearning for good times ahead to be spent with their loved ones. However having witnessed multiple lockdowns, mixed with this optimism is also a degree of uncertainity that still remains in people when it comes to traveling. With this in mind, we have started our campaign, #GiftHealthToYourLovedOnes, where the consumers don’t have to travel but send out an intimate message to their loved ones that they care for them and their health.
Generally this new normal scenario what is the end consumer want?
With the different new normal scenarios and the variety of rules they come with we think in the end, the end consumer wants a semblance of certainity, assurance and a safe environment to build and foster mutual trust. This has reflected in consumers going to their most trusted brands when they populate their grocery basket. We too have witnessed this in our loyal consumers’ repeat purchase, their response during our brand-love campaign #GiftHealthToYourLovedOnes further increasing our conviction in our value proposition as a good-for-you health foods brand that we have always been.