Sauce and effect

HEENA KHAN | Updated on October 11, 2012 Published on October 11, 2012

Participating with relish

Del Monte Sketchup



To bring more young consumers into its fold, Del Monte came up with the Sketchup contest, where participants had to use its sauces to create works of art.

It’s a saucy twist to the oft-quoted ‘the medium is the message’. The medium is ketchup, Del Monte’s, specifically, and the message, of course, is that you should consume more of it. Sketchup, a contest that combines food and art, is how the company’s choosing to get closer to its customers in a day and age when real-time engagement is the favoured strategy for brands that want to grow organically from the bottom.

Del Monte, which came to India in 2007 through FieldFresh Foods, a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Del Monte Pacific Ltd wants to engage its customers through below-the-line activation and by consolidating its distribution network. Sketchup required the contestants to draw, using Del Monte’s sauces – Tomato Ketchup, Zingo, Twango and Mustard Now. Started mid-August 2012, it has resulted in the number of Facebook likes going up by approx 60,000. Sketchup got 15.5 million viewers online and offline and 367 entries were received for the contest.

Speaking about the initiative, Yogesh Bellani, Chief Operating Officer, FieldFresh Foods Pvt Ltd, said, “The contest was to engage with youth who are key influencers in the ketchup and sauces category. This year, our entire marketing budget will be spent on below-the-line advertising and getting the brand as close to the customer as possible. Brand is, after all, nothing but a relationship with its customer”

In the second week of October, the company kicked off Quest’Italia 2012, which in its earlier edition was known as QuizItalia, a quiz that engages with the school kids. This year Quest’Italia will reach out to 1,000 premium schools in eight cities, plus three million students through an online quiz. This quiz started on October 8 in Pune.

Bellani says, “Children are the lead influencers in deciding snack and meal options. While the preference for various alternative cuisines is rising in India, parents are actively looking for healthier options. Through Quest’Italia, an edutainment initiative, Del Monte is innovatively engaging with these young potential consumers and enhancing their knowledge about Italian cuisine by sharing interesting insights and tantalising their taste buds.”

Looking Southwards

 Historically being a North-based business, Del Monte is now focusing on consolidating its distribution channels in Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

“We have of late increased our efforts at on-ground consolidation. We want to be available in more and more locations,” adds Bellani.

With its fruit beverage manufacturing facility in Bangalore, and Southern markets accounting for 50 per cent of the mango market, , the company is focused on growing in the South. It also markets tinned fruit, pasta, olive oil and other culinary aids.

With sampling paying off, the company is also getting aggressive in the sachet ketchup market.

“We are planning a tiffin box-style pack of 20 sachets that will soon be launched. The packaging is under development,” says Bellani.

He said the sachet market was growing between 20 and 25 per cent annually. The company claims it is selling close to 30 million ketchup sachets every month.

“Out-of-home consumption is on the rise with mushrooming quick service restaurant (QSR) chains, cafes and restaurants. With every samosa or sandwich, a sachet finds its way onto the consumers’ radar, a free advertisement and sampling exercise for us. In this way our B2B business is actually fuelling our retail business and word-of-mouth advertising,” adds Bellani.

Del Monte caters to quick service restaurants (QSR), hotels, low-cost airlines and cafes in 90 cities across India. Their retail business covers the top 50-60 cities, largely through modern retail.

In early 2012, Del Monte began exports to Maldives and Nepal and is currently evaluating opportunities in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It also services certain QSRs in the Asia Pacific region.

The winter period is a big out-of-home consumption time and the company sees almost 30-35 per cent spike in sales in its business-to-business sales and 25-30 per cent spike in retail sales. “There is festivity and general bonhomie in the atmosphere and hence the rationale for getting the right marketing engagement for the winters,” adds Bellani.

This winter things get saucier – the company will launch a new range of mayo, dips and and sandwich spreads.

Published on October 11, 2012
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