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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Branding Tender Coconut & Toddy palm

We’re already used to apples and oranges sporting a small sticker, branding themselves against others. What’s new is that more and more fruits are getting branded this way.

Spotted that some roadside vendors on the outskirts of Pondy have started sticking a sticker on tender coconut and toddy palm that they are selling on ECR (East Coast Road)
The sticker has provision for a brand name, date (of plucking from tree???), weight and price. Following are the thoughts that ran in my mind after seeing this, which I am sharing with you now in this post.

Do you think adding a sticker would fetch additional value? I understand that if we do some kind of processing (cleaning, purification, packaging, preservation etc) on the food item, to some extent we can justify branding them (for example, branding buttermilk such products make sense)…but just because you plucked it from the tree and brought it to market (read roadside) can you justify sticking a sticker on it and calling it “my brand”?

Also, what value will this sticker add? Tender coconut doesn’t come with an expiry date-what date are they planning to mention there? Date of plucking from tree? Or best before date? Anyone familiar with tender coconut will be able to judge it by looking at the visible freshness of the fruit (if there’re lots of wrinkles and dark spots on the surface then it is over ripe) and dates won’t make much sense.

And weight-another irrelevant parameter. For most of the other fruits, measuring by weight makes sense but in case of tender coconut, I don’t think there’s any mathematical relationship between the weight of the unit and quantity of water inside. A visibly huge and heavy coconut can have equally thicker shell and very little quantity of liquid inside while a small sized one can be full of fresh and tasty water. So trying to reach at some conclusion based on weight would again fail.

In fact, it is extremely tough to predict the taste and quantity of tender coconut and coconut gravy. A vendor usually asks if you prefer to have only water or water with gravy (coconut meat). But even seasoned vendor cannot assure you that his pick will 100% be as you asked, though by sheer experience he might manage to pick an appropriate one.


Are they using any propreitary methodology to grow these coconuts? Or some signature fertilizers?

The only advantage of branding, if any, is that it might convince certain customers (probably techies and international tourists, provided they are not much familiar with fundamentals of tender coconut) to believe they are going to have something of a better quality.

May be these farmers are trying their hand on global marketing and trying jump on the branding bandwagon.. May be I should stop analysing and appreciate their efforts?
Btb the text on the sticker reads "Shehajahan Stores". Similar explanation goes for Toddy Apple...
Cross posted on Churumuri.

8 comments :

Saithilak said...

These guys want to market their products in much better way. I think this is same as with labels on apples and other fruits. They just give an impression that the quality is expected to be better!!

I heard somewhere, that a top official of an airline company talking about real consumer psychology. He said that an average customer doubts the performance of the airplane engine, when he/she sees some coffee stains in his/her cabin!!

So goes with this branding. If you market it with some credentials on the coconut, the customer psyche will instantly refers to the better quality of the product, irrespective of its correctness!! So the sale goes in and so as the livelihood of the coconut vendor.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Sai for the detailed comment and additional inputs.

Himanshu Sheth said...

This is a good one :) Branding has gone to the micro level !!! May be this branding would help to get Coconuts to the market where it might not have gone yet like guys in big cars who still feel that drinking coconuts from the roadside is harmful for health :)

In short,branding has reached where it has not gone yet and this is just the arrival of the times to come :)

-Himanshu Sheth

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Himanshu for sharing your opinion...

Preeti said...

I was in Goa recently, and I hopped onto one of those north goa tour buses... the guide said somet about being careful abt the price of coconuts coz there are Goan coconuts and there are the others. i was really bemused by that. a coconut is a coconut. to me, there are only two kinds... paani vaala and malai vaala. why do ppl make things more complicated?

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Preeti,

Well, yes there're differences in taste based on area it is grown and so many other parameters. No one seems to have done a Ph.D on coconuts and its too complex for ordinary folks like us to understand it...
As you said, Pani and Malai are the 2 easy variants we can ask for-even that is not guaranteed- I mean, vendor selects one based on his experience and gut feeling, but at times you may not get what you asked for...

Himanshu Sheth said...

Thanks for adding my blog in the BlogRoll, have added your blog as well :)

-Himanshu Sheth

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@ Himanshu
Thanks and welcome