Marico, a prominent domestic FMCG company, demonstrates its ability to add flavor and outperform the PepsiCo-owned brand Quaker oats.
Marico’s approach of infusing a regional essence into oats, by introducing a savory variant to a predominantly sweet global offering, has propelled Saffola to surpass Quaker as the top brand in the category.
Saffola currently commands a market share by value of 42%, outpacing Quaker, which stands at approximately 34% (as of MAT December 2022), according to data from Kantar, a marketing data and analytics company. A year ago, Quaker held the top position with a value share of around 38%, while Saffola was at approximately 37%. To clarify, a moving annual total (MAT) represents the total value of a variable over the preceding 12 months.
Saffola oats, offered in both plain and masala varieties, have expanded the snacking possibilities within the category, extending beyond the traditional breakfast niche. In contrast, Quaker primarily emphasizes oats as a breakfast option. Historically, oats have been predominantly enjoyed as a morning meal.
Marico’s MD & CEO Saugata Gupta said, “We are proud to have achieved this milestone and emerge as leaders in the oats category… Indians are uncompromising when it comes to taste. With this basic learning, we set out to Indianise oats by addressing the quintessential Indian taste preferences, while seamlessly integrating the health benefits that it offers.”
A PepsiCo spokesperson said, “Quaker is a strong market leader in the oats breakfast cereals segment in India, driven by our 145 years of nutritional expertise. It is not comparable to selectively club other segments that may have oats as an ingredient for calculating market share.”
The oats category is on the rise, with its urban India presence expanding from 11% in MAT July 2020 to 17% in MAT July 2023, as per Kantar’s household penetration data. This category can be broadly classified into two segments: plain oats (with an 11% penetration) and flavored oats (with 8% penetration). Among these, Saffola oats holds the top position with a 11% penetration rate in MAT July 2023, while Quaker oats lags behind with a 5% penetration.
Marico has additionally incorporated millets into its oats lineup, aligning with its approach to provide healthier product options. Competing within the INR 500-crore oats category, other key players include Kellogg’s (holding a share of less than 10%), followed by Bagrry’s (2.5%), and Horlicks (with a share below a percentage point).