Last Sunday, I was shopping with my wife in D-Mart, and we had to buy honey. Her first choice was Dabur Honey, despite its 25% premium to the nearest lesser known brand. On further probing, she said that she had tried several brands, but that this one was the best. I have seen Dabur Honey for quite some time now(its not as famous as Chawanprash, but getting there), but this was the first testimony to the brand I had heard in person. My perception of the market was that honey is a commodity and ‘natural’ is preferred to processed, given the ‘organic’ craze prevalent nowadays. However, this comment got me thinking and I went to the Dabur Honey website http://www.daburhoney.com/faq-about-honey.aspx . Here, the FAQs http://www.daburhoney.com/faq-about-honey.aspx helped to burst quite a few myths like the importance of crystals, colour, thickness, processing and so on.
Also, I thought honey is useful for children or for taking a spoon daily to help with weight loss. However, the site also suggests honey as a sugar substitute, and have also given recipes from Vikas Kapoor for this. They seem determined to create a new category itself, and boost the consumption of honey in this country. There have been categories created in India before(like Maggie noodles before the whole issue broke out!), but this is on the lines of Baba Ramdev Ayurveda(using modern techniques of production, SCM, marketing and branding to expand the category).
This campaign has also come around the right time where people cannot hide behind the winter sweaters, and the fat curves would now show! Also, with monsoons around the corner, the appeal of tea and fried snacks might take people away from the gym. Therefore, honey diet sort of things could help to lose weight ‘sitting at home’. Of course, Dabur is quick to caution people not to overdo honey and to combine it with other things via their ‘Stay Fit Stay Young’ campaign.
As a business professional, what do I think of this campaign? Like ITC has demonstrated, it is possible to sustainably grow a category with Indian focused flavours, packaging and pricing. Of course, ITC has a headwind of millions of captive tobacco outlets who need to keep something of ITC food business or risk the wrath of the company(this is more for the distributors who can be replaced at will if they do not push the non tobacco business), but one cannot take away from the company how it has surpassed HUL in just 7 years. Dabur is another example of a homegrown FMCG, albeit more focused on personal care(after Balsara acquisition) and health foods, but which now seems wanting a chunk of the food business. With their patient capital and family stewardship, and now willing to employ the power of new age internet channels to build the category, there seems lot of impending action for honey in the months to come