This Indian start up of gourmet nachos is changing the way we eat snacks

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In the popular market of calorie-high potato chips, largely dominated by multi-nationals, bringing in a virgin idea of healthy nachos wasn’t easy for Vikram Agarwal, director of Greendot Health Foods better known as Cornitos. Seven years back, this Faridabad based start up had formulized nachos and tortillas as healthy alternative to potato chips.

At the time of launch, a packet of Cornitos was priced at Rs 100, whereas you would get a Lays or Uncle Chips for Rs 10. No doubt, the packaging looked premium. “While launching Cornitos, the focus has been on entering an uncontested space where competitors were yet to step in, reduce our entry costs and getting better value. Even as I decided to give consumers a differentiated and value product, I decided against offering low price – Rs 5 and Rs 10 Products. International Nachos and Tortilla Chips brands in the market are anyway available for a premium, so our products, though available at a price higher than domestic snack food brands, still turns out to be competitive and has been well-accepted by consumers,” Agarwal told Business Insider.

Staying gourmet isn’t on cards
“After we started we wanted to reach masses with message of Healthy Snacking and not remain limited to Gourmet. We have been selective in our approach in giving our product to the right distributors ensuring that it is put into the right places. Over the years, we have expanded to Tier-I and Tier-II towns. Currently we are available across 300 cities with 30000 plus retailers. Also to create awareness around the product, we undertook a lot of sampling at schools, modern trade stores and general trade ensuring that the product was being tasted by consumers. We also launched more flavours with the aim to cater to the maximum number of people,” said Agarwal, while speaking exclusively to Business Insider.

Cornitos is big on product innovation. Moreover a longer shelf life helps retailers to avoid issues related to expiry of products.

It’s not corn papad
Corn Papad was the notion harboured by people when Cornitos initially entered the market. In the USA and Mexico, nachos are an independent genre of snacks altogether. However, establishing these as strong product categories in India had their own share of challenges for Agarwal.

A strong consumer focused approach has helped to create awareness around these products.



Just too much competition these days?
Ever since people started cutting on potato chips, the market leaders of the field have introduced similar corn chips in the market led by Cornitos. First Parle and then Pepsico’s Doritos are attempting at penetrating the Rs 60 crore market. However with 60% plus share in the sector, Cornitos is a hot favourite.

What actually worked?
Agarwal claims gluten free, zero cholesterol and zero transfat have evidently contributed to the growth of corn chips.
“We are taking the product centric approach maintaining the product quality and increased the Marketing spend on electronic media. We have recently given a face to much-loved Nachos category. The mascot is named Mr. Crispy and he elucidates the brand ethos of premium quality and 10 Exotic Flavours. With the unveiling of our maiden mascot Cornitos unfolds an exciting new chapter in its growth trajectory,” explained he.

Foreign invasion
Cornitos has entered the markets of the USA and China as well. And the response has been quite overwhelming, claimed Agarwal.

The spicy chilli flavour, Peri Peri, has become an international rage and with this newest offering Cornitos is keen to lure snack lovers into a journey of global taste. From Hot Sizzlin Jalapeno to Sweet Thai Chilli there are 10 exotic flavours that open world market for Cornitos. International flavours like Sizzlin Jalapeno, Thai Sweet Chilli, Peri Peri, Tomato Mexicana and Wasabi are in good demand for exports.
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