The flavour of the season

The flavour of the season
April 2012 |

By introducing one innovative specialised nutritional offering after another, Tata Salt has been able to consistently go beyond customer expectations. Besides developing a variety of fortified salt products, Tata Chemicals (the company behind the Tata Salt brand) more recently ventured into food flavourings with Flavoritz. Ashvini Hiran, chief operating officer, consumer products division, Tata Chemicals, talks to about the rationale behind the innovations, how these products came to be and the company's plans to address other micronutrient deficiencies.

Tata Salt products are focused on various health initiatives. What were the factors that contributed to the idea of developing flavoured salt?

Tata Salt is not just a market leader in India, but has also been driving innovation in the category. The main platform is health. The brand continues to remain relevant to customer needs through its specialised health / nutritional offerings – Tata Salt Lite (low-sodium salt) and Tata Salt Plus (iron-fortified salt).

The Flavoritz innovation is a progression towards meeting customer expectations. It empowers and involves the customer in creating a difference in the otherwise everyday chore of cooking. A homemaker is perpetually challenged to make interesting and appetising changes to the daily menu. Flavoritz is aimed at providing the user with a simple yet exciting way of adding a 'twist' to regular food.
[Left to right – Ashwini Hiran, COO, consumer products division, TCL; KV Sridhar, national creative director, Leo Burnett; Chef Rakesh Sethi, food editor, Food Food channel; Sam Balsara, MD, Madison Communications; B Sudhakar, CHRO, TCL, and Parag Gadre, AVP, marketing and strategy, TCL, at the launch of Flavoritz at the Taj President, Mumbai] What is the target group for Flavoritz? Are there any plans to introduce 1kg packs for Flavoritz?
While the target group has been defined as SEC [socioeconomic class] A/B, males and females over the age of 25 years, anyone who loves to experiment with food is part of the target group.

Now that the product is in the markets, our activities will be focused around providing product samples to the consumers, because we believe that the taste of the product will spread by word of mouth. Currently, Flavoritz is available in 60gm packs. As the usage will be similar to seasoning, consumption is likely to be lower than regular salt. However, if there is a demand, we can look at introducing a 1kg pack.

Could you tell us about how Flavoritz was developed? Based on what parameters did the team choose the four flavours – Onion Garlic, Lemon Coriander, Red Paprika and Black Pepper Powder?
We developed an indicative list of flavours through various consumer interactions and insight studies. These initial flavours were further tested by consumers, chefs, students at catering institutes, and independent laboratories for organoleptic properties and stability. After a battery of such tests, the winning flavours have been launched!
Iron-fortified salt (Tata Salt Plus) is a new concept in India. What made Tata Chemicals take up the initiative? Which institutions / organisations / teams did TCL collaborate with?
Iron, iodine and vitamin A have been identified as the three most critical micronutrient deficiencies in India.

[Left to right – R Mukundan, MD, Tata Chemicals; Dr Pandav, regional coordinator, ICCIDD; Ashvini Hiran, COO, consumer products division, Tata Chemicals; Dr Renganathan, senior consultant nutrition, nuclear medicine, and former head, isotope division, NIN; Dr GS Toteja, deputy director general, ICMR, Dr B Sesikeran, director, NIN; and Bharat Waklu, resident director, Tata Services]
Tata Salt pioneered salt iodisation in India: it was the first branded iodised salt in the country. Over the years, salt iodisation has helped reduce iodine deficiency disorders across the country.

At present, iron deficiency affects over 50 per cent of women and children in the country and every fourth person in the world. The vision for Tata Salt Plus is the eradication of anaemia through the 'ironisation' of salt; its objective is to address iron deficiency anaemia, and in future, migrate consumers of iodised salt to iron-fortified iodised salt.

The product formulation was developed by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN). NIN and the TCL team conducted experiments at the Mithapur facility for product development.

Does Tata Chemicals plan to introduce other fortified salts? For instance, calcium deficiency is also a health concern in India.
TCL will continue exploring opportunities for fortified salts that will address other micronutrient deficiencies, after studying the technical feasibility of such products.
[Tata Salt Plus]

British Salt, part of the TCL group, has a global distribution arm. Will the product be launched in other countries too?
As a part of the roll-out plan in the initial phase, we will distribute the product in the domestic market. Subsequently, global opportunities can be explored.

What is the sales figure that the marketing team is aiming at for both products?
Tata Salt Plus has been launched with the objective of addressing iron deficiency anaemia. The vision for the product is to migrate the entire user base of iodised salt to iron-fortified salt.

Flavoritz currently has an initial production capacity of 100,000 bottles. However, more than increasing volumes, we would like the product to increase the mind share of the Tata Salt brand with consumers.

Tata Salt Flavoritz range of products

  • Lemon Coriander flavoured salt: the distinctive aroma of coriander and the tanginess of lemon come together to create a delectable sprinkling that is perfect for salads, yogurt and raitas.
  • Red Paprika flavoured salt: is perfect to give eggs, pizzas and sandwiches that little burst of fiery flavour.
  • Onion Garlic flavoured salt: is a perfect blend of garlic and aromatic onions to give any dish a distinctively robust flavour.
  • Black Pepper Powder: adds a dash of fresh flavour to savoury dishes and gives a tasty twist to soups and salads.