From frosty reception to now making upma, how Kelloggs found a place on Indian breakfast table

Kellogg’s came to India more than a decade ago and challenged to transform the breakfast habits of all Indians through the introduction of different varieties of cereals, the most famous being the cornflakes. Realising that such products do not cater to the Indian taste buds, the US company came out with a desi breakfast, Upma. In the viral meme, Kelloggs’s Upma was seen stacked on a shelf with the caption, “Kellogg’s sreejith panicker came to India challenging that they will change the breakfast habits of all Indians. 10 years later, this happened.” However, MNCs have been catalysts to a change in our food habits where we have come to accept ready-to-cook, out of a packet option for our meals. Home grown brands such as MTR and ITC Foods have played a role sensing the need to offer product options which meets the needs of an evolving consumer.

Others opined that nothing can replace the Indian breakfast that includes parantha-plain and stuffed, poha, jalebi, mirchi vada, vada paav, matar kulcha, churma, chole-kulche, and others. John Harvey intended cornflakes to be a health food that would aid Americans’ digestion at a time when everything from meat, pie, and potatoes were part of a standard breakfast in 19th-century America, explains a Forbes report. “By the time I was in college, Kellogg’s was selling some products in smaller, more affordable packets instead of the big boxes. I ended up reaching for these small packets of Chocos and strawberry-flavoured cornflakes as mid-day snacks that didn’t even necessarily require milk,” he added. In 1994, Kellogg’s opened a plant in Mumbai & launched its premier cornflakes, as well as products like basmati rice flakes & wheat flakes, but struggled to suit Indian palates.

They are now replacements for a whole meal such as breakfast. The home cooked meal will increasingly be seen as a chore not worth following as the available options are far too attractive to ignore – familiar taste, convenient and ‘bought’ with a belief that they have all the goodness ‘packed’ in them. “Starting March last year, we experienced major disruptions in ‘Supply Chain’ and ‘Route To Market’, much like the industry. Behind a hyper local approach and with extreme agility, we were able to recover the operations within 40 days.” Back in time, Kellogg’s had introduced only cornflakes, Basmati rice flakes, and wheatflakes. The brand entered the Indian market with quality products backed by technical, managerial and financial pillars. Unfortunately, it miserably failed to make the Indian audience go wow.

It evokes a nostalgic ‘those were the days’ kind of emotion in working professionals when recalling their hostel days where Maggi was the all-weather friend. The industry communication has moved beyond educating the consumer and projecting competitive advantages over each other. On Sunday, business tycoon Anand Mahindra took to Twitter to share an old meme about Kellogg’s Upma. The post obviously went viral and netizens were amused. “Habits do change when u offer something better than before, but there is no comparison to the Indian indigenous foods, these are healthier, easily digestible, and affordable,” a user replied to Mahindra’s post.

Plus exciting deals similar to this can also be found on the homepage of INRDeals which is constantly updated and fed with the best of bargains. The warranty of Kellogg’s Upma Variety Pack, 576g is applicable against the Bill & it has nothing to do with from where the product was purchased . Be sure to retain the copy of the invoice to get the required warranty. This is a Limited time offer and is valid till stock last.

Interestingly, Kellogg’s was not the first brand to introduce cornflakes to the Indian market — the credit for that goes to Mohan Meakin Ltd in 1963. Despite offering quality products and using an abundance of technical and managerial resources from its parent company, Kellogg’s sales were suffering in the Indian market. By 1995, it was estimated that for every 100 packets sold, two were bought by regular customers, with the remainder being first-time customers.

MNCs have invested vast amounts in changing our food habits and I believe have succeeded in a big way. Maggi and instant noodles are as mainstream as idli or parathas. The association with Maggi especially is very positive and the it has a strong equity. It is seen as a life-saver among many – housewives, working moms, students and more.

This view has also been shared by Homi Bhabha, an Indian scholar of English who is a professor of the humanities at Harvard University — not to be confused with the nuclear scientist of the same name. “As a kid, I would always get excited to see Chocos on the shelves of a grocery store. I’d always beg my parents to buy it,” 26-year-old foodblogger Stibin Raphel, who runs an Instagram page called The Indian Food Blogger, told ThePrint. Many in India who grew up in the new millennium have fond memories of the breakfast cereal. Corn flakes may be a different story and perhaps has remained a niche market, adopted by a small section of the society.

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