Just as we were getting ready to run this post, our regular reader RJ also pointed this out in his comments on our previous post.
Notwithstanding our previous posts (read here and here) about habit change and how companies/ marketers need to adapt themselves to ensure the habits are in tune with the changing lifestyles of consumers – here’s an example of a category evolved over time, that both contributed and adapted to changing consumer lifestyles.
First there were only Vadilal, Dinshaw, Kwality & Amul Ice-creams (limited flavors, standard packaging, uncomplicated parlors), then the homemade and the more high-end ice-creams like Naturals, Baskin Robbins hit the Indian markets. And then came Gelato. Consumers were exposed to different options in the category. With exposure to each new option, their palettes also evolved from the processed chocolate and vanilla essence to the delicate flavors of fresh vanilla bean extract, dark Belgian chocolate and fresh fruit flavors. More options also exposed them to the pros and cons of the new offerings. Consumers started realizing the ill-effects (fat, calorie content in regular ice-creams) and got more weight conscious and were fast adopting the Gelato, a low calorie alternative.
Similarly, earlier, yogurt was made at home. Then some households switched over to buying readymade yogurt with the option of regular and slim. The trend to follow was flavored yogurt. Neighborhood grocery stores now offer 3 brands of flavored yogurt – Nestle, Danone and the latest entrant in the arena is Go.
The convergence of the changes in ice-cream and yogurt categories has led to the latest trend to hit the market – hip frozen yogurt shops such as Cocoberry, Yogurtbay and Fro-Yo. Of these, YogurtBay seems to be the most popular hang-out for youngsters; any time of the day (or night) if you go by these shops, you literally need to squeeze your way in to get your hands on some very seasonal fruit-, gourmet-flavored yogurt with contemporary toppings like granola, muesli, praline and jelly. They are cool (in taste and attitude), contemporary, non-preachy about health and they are the new buzzword in town.
Health benefit is probably intrinsic to the cross-category of evolved ice-creams and yogurt. Yogurtbay mentions the health benefit (fat free) almost as an afterthought, in the small print at the bottom of the poster.
P.S – On my trip to the US this summer, I noticed the same trend there. Every street corner had a frozen yogurt store – not one of these was there when I last visited 5 years ago. Same concept, but executed differently. It’s a self-service concept – first you pick the size of cup, go over to the yogurt dispensing machines (remember the softy machines, these are the same type), take as small or large squirts of the flavors that appeal to you, mix how many ever flavors you like, go over to the toppings counter and add all you like and want, weigh the cup and pay accordingly. Fabulously executed, you get exactly what you want, in what proportion you want and how much you want.
Do you think this format would work in India? Or are we too dependent on asking people to serve us that this self-serve, self-decision on yogurt flavors and topping mix would just be too much to handle?!?!