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Kellogg's Cheez-It is here with Indian touch

S. Muralidhar

CHENNAI, April 30

IF the competition wrote off Kellogg India as innocuous `small fry' in the biscuits and confectionery market, here's news.

Kellogg India Ltd, wholly owned subsidiary of the Kellogg Company of the US, has just quietly soft-launched `Cheez-It', the world's largest selling cheese biscuit brand.

The new product is available in two variants and is said to have been suitably altered to cater to the Indian palate. Kellogg India has chosen to launch and test-market the premium brand of biscuits or as the company likes to call it `Baked Cheese Snack Crackers', in Tamil Nadu.

Officials at Kellogg India were tight-lipped about the company's plans for the product and declined to make comments.

Market sources, however, felt that plans are afoot to take the brand nationwide after an initial test-marketing exercise, to gauge consumer response, is carried out in Tamil Nadu.

Cheez-It biscuits are also only available at select departmental store outlets in the State. This is expected to enable Kellogg India to collate consumer data easily.

The Cheez-It brand is expected to be promoted as a premium snack, but will continue to reflect Kellogg's legendary focus on nutrition.

To this end, all the packs (single and multi-serve) of the biscuit will contain nutritional facts, a practice now being selectively adopted by other organised biscuit manufacturers.

Considered the largest selling single cheese biscuit brand in the US, Cheez-It is probably the quickest launch of a newly acquired brand in India by the Kellogg Company.

Kellogg India is already present in the biscuit segment with extensions of its popular Kellogg Chocos breakfast cereal brand.

These brand extensions were basically intended to wean away customers from other health biscuit brands and also to provide more variations to its existing consumer base.

However, with the launch of the Cheez-It brand, the company has now stepped into serious biscuit territory.

Cheez-It is a broadly positioned snack, which is targeted at both the youth and the adult consumer.

Again, there are a number of brand extensions and variants of the Cheez-It brand available worldwide.

The brand was acquired by the Kellogg Company in March 2001, along with a clutch of other brands such as Keebler, Murray and Carr's, from the Keebler Company, the second largest biscuit manufacturer in the world.

With projected annual sales of more than $9 billion, Kellogg is the world's leading producer of breakfast cereal and a leading producer of convenience foods, including cookies, crackers, toaster pastries, cereal bars, frozen waffles, meat alternatives, pie-crusts and cones.

The company's brands include Kellogg's, Keebler, Pop-Tarts, Eggo, Cheez-It, Nutri-Grain, Rice Krispies, Special K, Murray, Austin, Morningstar Farms, Famous Amos, Carr's, Plantation, and Kashi.

Kellogg products are manufactured in 19 countries and marketed in more than 160 countries around the world.

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Kellogg's Cheez-It is here with Indian touch

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