Name of Publication Place of Publication Date of Publication
A&M New Delhi 15 May 1998

Be Ostracized No More

THE CANDY company is back. Candico India has nationally launched After Smoke mints. The company already sells mints under the Mint-O brand, along with a variant Fresh.
     So why the need to launch a third mint? Says Achal Khaneja, Senior Manager, Brand and Relationships, "Mint-O After Smoke promises clean breath and is specifically a smoker's product."  It is priced at Rs. 3 for a roll of 10 mints and 25 paise for a single mint pouch. The primary market comprises the 21-45-year-old smoker of filter kings, who is educated, and is either executive, self-employed or businessman. The secondary audience includes all smokers. As Khaneja says, "The person should be highly status-motivated, image-conscious and open to new products that enhance his self esteem and social standing. He is socially mobile, a regular smoker (one who smokes 10 or more cigarettes per day) and is more likely to purchase cigarette packs rather than single sticks."

                                  However, since the USP of After Smoke is that it provides fresh breath even after smoking, it is more likely to be devoured by youngsters wanting to rid them selves of the incriminating smell before entering the house, but the company refrains from saying this out loud. The advertising, being handled by Ambience, is going to be tongue-in-cheek. And the packaging will carry humorous warning such as : 'smokers ' breath can ruin your love life'.

      Though competition comes from brand such as Clorets and Chloromints, Khaneja feels that After Smoke  is secure as the other two are general breath fresheners and not specific to smokers.  Going by the same logic there is no question of being eaten up by Mint-O either. Khaneja places the overall market for mints at 175 tones a month(since it is largely  an urban, phenomenon),of which the Mint-O range claims to have 40 percent  share. The other major player is Nestle's Polo. The market saw intense activity as the two brands fought  for consumer preference last year.  The new entrant may rekindle the war. The product will be manufactured at the company's plant in Nagpur and will be distributed in all towns  with population of 25,000 and above.

The company claims that it will be available in two lakh outlets.
Candico has been on a launch spree since its inception and had recently launched Rock Candy, Frutti Tutti and Freedom bubble gum. It's possible that the action is due to a McKinsey report that pegs the confectionery market in India to be worth $1.8 billion (Rs. 7,200 crore) by 2005, while market watchers back home place the market at Rs. 1,100 crore presently and expect it to grow to about Rs 1,900 crore by the turn of the century.   Whichever way it happens, the potential is large, and Candico seems determined to do its bit to make the growth possible.
             GEETIKA SASAN