PepsiCo India recently announced the introduction of a new category in the salty snacks industry with Kurkure Twistkeen, a modern twist on namkeens in a convenient finger snack avatar. Gaurav Verma, Director Marketing – Indian Snacks, PepsiCo India tells us the thought process behind introducing traditional namkeens in a modern format and why the company is betting big on geo-targeting as part of its launch campaign. Excerpts What prompted PepsiCo to create a new category in the salty snacks space? What was the market research that led to this product? PepsiCo India has been a pioneer in creating categories in the salty snack industry. In 1999, we introduced and defined the collet category with Kurkure, which has today become an iconic snack brand in the country. With Kurkure Twistkeen, we have yet again revolutionized the salty snacks segment by re imagining traditional namkeens in a modern finger snack avatar. Bringing its innovation expertise at the forefront, PepsiCo India developed Kurkure Twistkeens based on an extensive research and insights across 20+ cities with 5000+ consumers. The research suggested that consumers were looking for a modern and a convenient format to consume their favourite traditional namkeens. Over the past two years, PepsiCo worked on cutting edge technology with its global and local R&D teams from three continents India, US and Mexico to develop a modern format retaining the flavour of Indian traditional namkeens. Kurkure Twistkeens is truly a snack made for the consumers, by the consumers. What would you estimate to be the size of the salty snacks category in India? What is PepsiCo’s market share in this space? The branded salty snacks market is estimated at Rs 22,000 crore approximately. PepsiCo India Snacks is growing at a healthy double digit and aims to double its business in the next four to five years. What would you say is the positioning of this product? The new premium Kurkure Twistkeen is for the young and independent women who are the key decision makers in the household. With the perfect balance of traditional with their modern outlook, these women prefer easy-to-go and convenient lifestyle. What is the insight behind your marketing campaign for Kurkure Twistkeen? The marketing campaign of Kurkure Twistkeen highlights the first ever introduction of traditional namkeens in a modern format. From transformation of namkeens with a twist to easy standalone pack, the communication emphasizes on the convenience which Kurkure Twistkeen brings to suit the changing preferences of the consumers. Developed on the back of insights from the extensive research suggesting that consumers were looking for a modern and convenient format to consume their favourite traditional namkeens, the campaign emphasizes on the modern snacking option of traditional namkeens. As this as a new category, what is the brief that was given to the creative agency? Our communication for the entire campaign is to highlight the convenience that Kurkure Twistkeen brings to its consumers without compromising on the traditional tastes- be it the transformation of traditional namkeens in a modern finger food format to easy standalone pack. What is your media mix like? Kurkure Twistkeens will be marketed through a 360-degree marketing campaign led by digital media for awareness amongst urban consumers and through in shop activations and product trials. The 30-second TVC, in the signature quirky style of Kurkure, showcases the fun and convenience of relishing India’s favourite namkeens in a finger snacks format. You are betting big on geo-targeting, can you elaborate on this? The geo-targeting in this campaign entails identification of digital viewers within 1km of radius of a Modern Trade outlet with trial coupons for Kurkure Twistkeen. This comes as a step to strengthen and channelize the first ever media to trial marketing route. What are the challenges in marketing a new product, particularly a new category? PepsiCo has always been at the forefront of innovation and portfolio transformation by introducing and offering a variety of snacking options. Kurkure Twistkeens was developed basis an extensive research and insights across 20+ cities with 5000+ consumers. The research suggested that consumers were looking for a modern and a convenient format to consume their favourite traditional namkeens. Over the past two years, PepsiCo worked on cutting edge technology with its global and local R&D teams from three continents India, US and Mexico to develop a modern format retaining the flavours of Indian traditional namkeens. Kurkure Twistkeens is truly a snack made for the consumers, by the consumers. What are your expectations from the new product? Where do you see Kurkure Twistkeen, a year from now, in the Indian snacking space? The initial response to Kurkure Twistkeen has been tremendous and we are confident that it will be a winning proposition for the consumers. We are looking forward to scaling it up in the coming year.