Sunday, February 28, 2010


There are several types of consumers who are targeted constantly by the marketeers for promoting various consumer products. There are eternal optimists who never take seriously adverse conditions and always look forward to better things in future. These are the target consumers for food industry because they rarely find fault with any products and swallow what ever is thrown at them with good intention. The eternal pessimists are hard to satisfy and it requires tremendous PR efforts to sell any thing to them. They are the "head aches" of consumer goods industry. There are skeptics who may momentarily suspect the bonafides but can be won over through some manoeuvrings. A model consumer analyzes the pros and cons of a product, tries out initially and comes to a reasonable conclusion of his own regarding the claims by the manufacturer. Industry becomes more alert when consumers become more demanding in terms of quality, safety, accountability and pricing.

"Food-borne diseases are a worldwide problem and rising issues concerning the safety of food in India has made Indians wary of the food that they buy. According to the Nielsen Global Online Survey, 97 percent Indians consider safety of food an important factor in deciding where they shop and 73 percent Indians are confident in the safety of the food that they purchase from their local store. As per the survey, India along with Ukraine is the second most willing nation to pay a premium for food that is safe (85%). Saudi Arabia and Phillipines lead with 86 percent votes in their willingness to pay a premium for safe food. More than six in ten Indians think that the Food Manufacturer has the main responsibility for providing them with safe food. 30 percent hold the Government responsible for providing safe food and only 8 percent think that the Retailer has the main responsibility in providing safe food to them. However, Indians trust the Government the most when a food safety scare arises (32%). With 29 percent, Food Manufacturers are the second most trusted entity in case of a food safety issue. 26 percent Indians trust Media and only 13 percent trust Retailers when they are skeptic about food safety".

Though safety is a priority for Indian consumer, the very understanding of safety concepts is skewed because of few reported food poisoning episodes in the country. If a vast number of people consume foods from road side vendors and low end eateries with suspect credentials and still feel comfortable, food safety may be a non-existent issue for them. The survey findings are gravely flawed, probably because of the faulty design of the study. It is a common knowledge that adulteration of food is most rampant in India and most of the consumers know about it. If bottled water has become a staple product in the Indian market, thanks are due to the governments which have shirked their responsibility to provide safe drinking water to its citizens. The fact of the matter is that there is no "typical Indian" whose food purchasing behavior can be predicted with any degree of certainty.

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