Reverse innovation: FMCG products developed to suit local tastes being marketed successfully across world
What do spicy snacks, nimboo pani, hair oil, fairness creams, water purifiers, masala noodles have in common? Indian consumers of course, you would say. Not exactly.
Products suited for the Indian market are now being marketed abroad as well, and by no other than multinational companies who developed these FMCG goods to suit Indian tastes in the first place.
So if Hindustan Unilever (HUL) is taking its water purifier brand Pureit to new global markets, PepsiCo India, makers of Nimbooz, is introducing its snack brand Kurkure, which was developed for Indian tastes, in key markets across the globe. Likewise, French cosmetics major L’Oreal has taken a slew of its innovations developed in India, such as Garnier Men PowerLight range of skincare products and Garnier Fructis Shampoo (with oil), to global markets.
Termed reverse innovation (products originally conceived for developing economies but now being marketed in other geographies in their original or modified form), the concept is clearly gaining momentum in the Indian FMCG space.
After launching its home grown brand Pureit in Indonesia and Bangladesh in 2010, HUL has recently taken it to key markets in south Asia, Latin America and Africa. “Pureit is currently sold in Sri Lanka, Brazil, Mexico and Nigeria. We are selling Annapurna (salt) in Ghana and Wheel (detergent powder) in Bangladesh as well,” said a spokesperson from HUL.
HUL is currently selling its home-grown brand Fair & Lovely, a skin whitening cream, first launched in 1976 in India, in 30 countries across the globe.
PepsiCo, the second largest food and beverage company in the world, is adapting its Indian innovation Kurkure for western markets. “What works really well for PepsiCo India is to export the ‘indovation’ (Indian innovation) idea to other markets where it can be manufactured locally. Kurkure is currently available across the globe wherever there is a large ethnic Indian population,” a spokesperson from PepsiCo India informed FE.
PepsiCo India’s baked crackers brand Aliva and lemon-flavoured drink Nimbooz are some of the company’s other innovations out of India that have attracted attention globally and are currently being adapted to suit local tastes in overseas markets.
“These are all products invented in the Indian laboratories of multinational companies, originally made for Indian consumers, but today a hit in global markets,” said an industry analyst. Due to high bulk and low shelf