Speaks falls under the breakfast cereal category with Hide & Seek Fills; can he take on Kellogg’s Chocos Fills, Nestlé Koko Krunch, Bournvita Fills?

With a 50% chocolate filling, the product targets children. We chat with Krishnarao Buddha, Senior Category Manager, Marketing, Parle Products, Rivals, Advertising and D2C Channels.

“Thoda aur chutney dena,” said my father at a mundane restaurant in the city maximum, while gorging himself on a plate of steaming medu vadas. The response from the waiter, on the other hand, was quite remarkable, “Rs 5 for an extra chutney.” It was an age when an extra serving of chutney or sambar was free.

A more heated argument than today’s news shows ensued, but that’s not our concern. What should be our concern is the cause of it all – “Thoda aur… dena.”

We love it a bit more in all aspects of our life, especially when it comes to food. No more cheese on our pizzas, no more peri peri masala on our fries, no more chakna with our glass of alcohol… you understand the drift.

It appears that the leading consumer goods brand, Parle Products, was thinking along the same lines when it announced its entry into the breakfast cereal category. Please welcome Parle Platina’s Hide and Seek.

What is that? Think of tiny, crunchy chunks filled with chocolate that you can dip in milk or, maybe, eat as is. This thought made us (afaqs!) Think. Does this fall under the breakfast cereal category or is it a snack?

“We have primarily positioned it as a breakfast cereal and want consumers to consume it with milk. But, at the same time, anyone can eat it as a meetha (sweet) snack because of the chocolate filling, ”says Krishnarao Buddha, Senior Category Manager, Marketing, Parle Products.

This new offer, Buddha tells us, is primarily aimed at children. If you look at Parle’s story, it mainly focused on “women (mothers, housewives, etc.) and children.” They are the target group (TG). For ‘Fills’, Parle targets mothers in order to reach their children.

“Mothers decide what their children should and shouldn’t have. They want their kids to have milk, but the kids don’t, ”says Buddha, adding,“ As soon as you put Fills in the milk, it turns chocolatey, like a chocolate milkshake. Children love it and so do their mothers. It is an excellent proposition.

However, what sets Fills apart from its competition is the amount of chocolate filling. It comes with a 50 percent chocolate filling, compared to around 30 percent for its rivals.

The Parle brand will compete with Nestlé Koko Krunch, Tata Soulfull Ragi Bites, Kellogg’s Chocos Fills and Cadbury Bournvita Fills.

Hide & Seek Fills competes not only with these packaged brands, but also with desi breakfast items. Idli, dosa, poha, jalebi, parantha, dhokla… And since most people still work and study at home, wouldn’t they prefer hot home-cooked meals rather than a package?

“Not at all,” Buddha remarks. He informs us that the consumption of packaged snacks has “increased disproportionately. Consumers are fed up with dal, roti and chapatti. They want something exciting… It’s a product of pure pleasure.

The indulgence update caught our attention as Fills is placed under Parle’s ‘Platina’ line. This is where you’ll find the company’s premium products, such as Hide & Seek, Nutricrunch (digestive cookies), and Mexitos (nacho chips).

Says Buddha, “The USP of Hide & Seek Fills is the premium rich chocolate filling. We didn’t want it to fall under another popular or massive brand. We wanted to bring it under Platina. That’s why we call it Parle Platina Hide & Seek Fills.

He tells us the product is currently available in northern India and will arrive in the western region by early October. Asked about the upcoming campaigns, Buddha simply said “No”.

“We have plans, not for the immediate future, but towards the end of the year. We want the distribution to take place before the start of the campaign.

Fills is priced at Rs 10 as it is a trial pack and will initially be available in general stores, then online, and finally in modern outlets.

Buddha explains that the reason for this structure is the price of Rs 10, keeping general stores in mind. Modern outlets want the big “Rs 100 or Rs 200 packs”.

Fills is the latest addition to the Parle family of products. A few weeks ago, he added three new flavors to his then 16-strong Chatkeens brand (flavors).

We asked Buddha if Parle is considering opening his own digital store, similar to Hindustan Unilever’s USshop, where you can only purchase the company’s products.

His answer, again, is “No”.

“Hindustan Lever may have done it, but there are many brands and categories… My belief is that you need to focus on the things you do best. UShop is a totally different business… In addition, our prices are Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 15 and Rs 20. So it makes (no) sense to launch a digital store, ”he concludes.

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