FMCG cos focus on special products for wider rural penetration

"Many people in India lack key nutrients like iron, iodine and Vitamin A...and fortification of food will help in overcoming this problem. It is our clear vision that we want to develop fortified affordable products for Indian consumers," Nestle Global Head (R&D) Klaus Zimmermann said.

The company has taken up one of the biggest steps towards the new focus by announcing plans to open its first Research and Development centre (R&D) in India at an investment of around Rs 230 crore. The centre will focus on developing affordable nutrition products.

Other FMCG players are also not far behind. While Britannia has developed a highly fortified energy snack under its 'Tiger' brand for children suffering from iron deficiency, GSK Consumer Healthcare (GSKCH) said it is currently test marketing a subsidised health drink 'Aasha'.

"We have developed an energy snack, which is highly fortified with iron, required to give to those children who are highly deficient in iron," Britannia Industries Managing Director Vinita Bali said.

Britannia has tied up with the Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry governments to supply these biscuits as part of various mid- day meal programmes in the region.
On the other hand, GSKCH is also currently test marketing a health drink 'Aasha' under the Horlicks brand, which has been developed particularly for the the bottom of the socio- economic pyramid.

"It has been made with raw materials and micro-nutrients. The product is priced cheaper and specially made for those people who are deficient of key nutrients," GSK Consumer Healthcare Executive Vice President Subhajit Sen said.

Last year, Coca-Cola had also launched similar initiative by developing an orange flavoured beverage fortified with micro-nutrients called 'Vitingo'.
As part of the project, Coca-Cola India had partnered with Laxmi Priya Enterprises (sister concern of Bharat Integrated Social Welfare Agency (BISWA) a leading NGO - Micro Finance Institution in Orissa.

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