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Parle Products to rationalise portfolio; cut brands from 50 to 20


Parle Products to rationalise portfolio; cut brands from 50 to 20
By Viveat Susan Pinto,Business Standard, Mumbai,
November 27, 2014 In a significant development, Mumbai-based Parle Products, the maker of biscuits, snacks and confectionery, has decided to rationalise its product portfolio by reducing brands from 50 to 20.

The exercise, which commenced about four months ago, is expected to be completed by the end of this financial year, according to Pravin Kulkarni, general manager (marketing) at Parle Products.

"Our endeavour is to drive our power brands. Rather than pushing each and every variant in our portfolio, what we will now do is bunch them under an umbrella, which will be a power brand. This way, managing our portfolio will become easier and we will not take our eyes off our key products. Our brand spends will also be rationalised as a result of this effort," says Kulkarni.

Parle's power brands in biscuits include Parle-G, Monaco, Hide & Seek, KrackJack, 20-20, Milano, Top, Kreams, Happy Happy, Actifit and Marie. In snacks, it has Parle Wafers, Full Toss and Namkeens. In confectionery, the company has products such as Mango Bite, Kaccha Mango Bite, Melody, Poppins, Kisme and Londonderry. Together, these brands contribute the bulk of Parle Products' estimated turnover of Rs 6,000 crore.

These products typically have a number of flavours and variants under them, which Parle Products had aggressively launched in the past few years in a bid to take on competition. Kulkarni says it is time the company consolidated all these product offerings and focused its attention on a few of them that commanded a strong equity in the marketplace. "The Parle name commands trust. So we will not do away with that mnemonic. But the attention will increasingly shift to some of the strong names in our portfolio," he adds.

Rivals Britannia and Mondelez have also adopted a similar strategy, where the attention has shifted from the corporate name or logo to individual product brands in a bid to drive recall and sales. Mondelez famously took this up two years ago with Oreo in India, its first launch after taking over Cadbury in 2010. While the packaging retained the Cadbury mnemonic, owing to its popularity in India, Kraft aggressively pushed the Oreo brand name in promotions and advertising. It has stuck to this strategy pushing its power brands such as Cadbury, Oreo, Tang and Bournvita aggressively to ensure brand recall.

On her recent trip to India, Mondelez International's chairperson Irene Rosenfeld had said the company would bring more biscuit offerings into India to expand its snacks portfolio. Some of its global biscuit brands include Nabsico, Ritz, Belvita, Barni and Mikado, which, if introduced in the country, could be pushed much the way Oreo was earlier.

Britannia, on the other hand, has had a very structured approach to branding, identifying key products it wishes to promote. The company's power brands include Good Day, Marie, Milk Bikis, Tiger, NutriChoice, Treat and 50-50, which together give it bulk of its bakery revenues, constituting 80-85 per cent of its top line. The balance for Britannia comes from dairy and exports.

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