LAUNCHED in 2010, 100% vegetarian, Chocon Khaas Mithas is growing at a CAGR of 417.53% – thanks to brand ambassador Katrina Kaif and the visionary leadership and experience of launching product for masses of Chairman Mr. G.L. Jain and Managing Director, Mr. S.K. Jain and a 350-strong sales force. The brand is available at 280,577 outlets through a network of 65 super stockists, 7 depots and 2840 distributors, besides being available at major premium modern retail outlets such as Spencer, Max Hyper and 24×7. It is advertised through 18 premium TV channels and cinema halls chains besides being advertised through outdoor media at premium locations throughout the country. Committed to hire the best brains and do whatever it takes to build the brand into a major household name, the brand is all set to become a US$200 million brand over next 5-years.
Blaze to Brilliance
It all started in October of 2008. The chocolate scenario in India, at that time, could at best be considered a duopoly, if not a pure monopoly dominated by huge multinationals with the lead brand accounting for as much as 70% plus of market share. These brands, being multinational by basic DNA structure, and guided primarily by profitability, attempt to focus mostly on those having a higher paying capacity and accordingly targeted metros and premium A class cities and even within those cities primarily focused on A and B class outlets.
“I have a passion, an all consuming burning obsession, for bringing out products for the masses”, said founder owner S.K. Jain, “products in Rs.5 to Rs.10 price-band, which everyone – literally – everyone can afford.” This was the thought-seed that gave birth to the brand – a real high-quality product, using cutting edge technology, offering superb value for money, which literally everyone can afford and which is available literally everywhere – in tier 3 and tier 4 cities too and at B,C and D class outlets too. Research commenced, via a renowned consultant in Manchester, and so did the work on developing the dream product – a 100% vegetarian Choco bar, for the masses started; cutting edge technology including entire machinery was imported from Scotland and the product was launched in 2010. Soon thereafter, Samsika Marketing, Mumbai was appointed as the marketing agency and Katrina Kaif, one of the most-admired Bollywood celebrities allured as brand ambassador.
The brand’s USP of being 100% vegetarian and at the same time offering a substantially superior price value equation, advertising over 18-premium TV channels and premium outdoor locations throughout country using Bollywood celebrity Katrina Kaif and hard work put in by a 350-strong sales force – all contributed to the brand being an instant success and a CAGR of 417.53%
The company’s core values: bringing out products that are 100% vegetarian, for the masses, offering superb value – have remain unchanged right since the company entered the FMCG scene. In 1996, the thought seed that gave birth to their entering the fruitjel market was that at that time all the jellies in India were made with gelatin (a nonvegetarian source). The founder owner, Mr. S.K. Jain dreamt of launching fruitjel that would be really fruitjel and shall be 100% vegetarian and when the product was launched, the slogan was: ‘Real Fruit, Real Fun’. Similarly, in 1998, when the company wanted to expand its operations by adding a new product line – and ethnic sweet by the name, ‘Milk N Nut’ and Mr. Jain found that the recipe had a component titled ‘Elbomin’ which was non-vegetarian, he firmly put his foot down and refused to compromise even if it meant expensive delays. A vegetarian source was found and only then the product was launched.
Engagement that Enthralls
One of the core values of the company is to come out with products ‘for the masses’. This is the hub of the wheel of strategy and guides not only advertising and promotion but product design, packaging, financial policies and everything else including communication strategy. The communication strategy focuses on using electronic media and outdoor media (with focus on bus panels and hoardings at premium locations throughout the country) which will take message to the masses.
To Chocon, Innovation is like oxygen. When asked, Mr. S.K. Jain, co-founder and owner, what keeps him motivated, he says without hesitation and with complete clarity, that innovation is the driving force. Right from searching for the latest ingredients to adhering to the core value of being 100% vegetarian, to keeping costs down by using cutting edge technology, to be able to keep products within the price-band for masses to using latest software to improve efficiency at factory and through the entire supply chain, innovation is the life-blood on which the company depends to keep every aspect healthy ethical and growing.
Chocon promises a 100% vegetarian, world-class products, using cutting edge technology, for the masses – at prices at which everyone in the Asian masses, down to the weakest person in a remote village can afford – democratizing a product hitherto considered only for the classes. The current mission is to make the brand available at every nook and corner of the country and once that is achieved more SKUs shall be rolled out in the market to build volumes. The product is already being exported to select countries and once critical mass is achieved, it will be rolled out in different markets.