Mor Milagai chocolate & Cricket-season Karasev

Interesting product ideas and product packaging can be, by themselves, be part of a communication strategy as well as a marketing strategy. Depending on how interesting or unique they are, they could tell a story more than just about the core product and actively work in accentuating word-of-mouth.

Let me share two recent examples that I stumbled upon with regard to product idea and packaging idea – and both have a distinct Tamil connection!

Product idea (that includes a packaging idea too!):

Chennai-based chocolate company Kocoatrait has launched a special new gift pack called ‘Madras Collection’.

Kocoatrait already lists some exotic flavors in its online shop – Jaggery, Sukku Kaapi, Red Rose, Masala Chai, Coconut-Cinnamon, Banana and more. But the Madras Collection literally takes the cake (and the bakery). It has 9 flavors: Sukku Malli Kaapi, Filter Coffee, Kozhukkattai, Malligai, Sarkarai Pongal, Mor Milagai, Panai Sarkarai, Panakam and Panneer Roja! This is a brilliant product localization idea!

The pack is also created as a zero-waste package – individual chocolate bars are wrapped in eco-friendly reclaimed cotton and Cacao shells that they generate during roasting of the beans. The outer box is made out of sustainable and reusable palm leaf, made by M.Rm.Rm Foundation (Chennai) which employs traditional crafts-women in rural Tamil Nadu.

The Madras Collection gift box is priced at Rs. 3,250 and ship all over India.

I came across the Kocoatrait Madras Collection via The Hindu BusinessLine.

Packaging idea (that includes a product idea too!):

Sairam Gopalan’s new online store, North Mada Street, sells traditional snacks from Tamil Nadu, made by families/women living in the agraharams of Tirunelveli. These are the snacks that I have eaten all my life as a Tamilian, and continue to buy from Adyar Ananda Bhavan in Bengaluru (besides from Shree Krishna or Anandhaa’s or Annapoorna in Coimbatore whenever we visit the city).

The snacks include Tirunelveli Special Ghee Halwa, Tirunelveli Special Kai Murukku, Ribbon Pakkoda (a particular favorite of mine!), Tirunelveli Special Mixture, Tirunelveli Special Manoharam, Tirunelveli Cheedai, Tirunelveli Then Kuzhal, Tirunelveli Special Ghee Mysorepa and Tirunelveli Special Ghee Athirasam.

They also sell other items like Sambhar powder, Rasam powder, Thengai Milagai Podi (Coconut Chutney Powder – a superb delicacy in Tamil Nadu!), Puliogarai Powder, and more.

Where Sairam has truly innovated is the package design. Unlike the standard packs of A2B or Anandhaa’s, each pack comes alive with a unique story and illustration, courtesy of a Bengaluru-based cartoonist named S.Muralidharan, a friend of Sairam! Each pack has a topical theme, like Work From Home, Online Classes, Cricket season, Election Season, and more! The illustration looks almost like R.K.Narayan’s Malgudi Days and tells interesting little stories to create a context for each snack!

The story-telling on the packs reminded me of the many food items packed for IndiGo Airlines – each one of them always got my attention and made me read through them! For instance, here, the one around Elections (for Mixture) was hilarious, with one lady exclaiming, “Which Party am I in today?” being such a real sentiment 🙂

North Mada Street has a Shopify-enabled online store and delivers all over India.

I came across the North Mada Street story via The Hindu MetroPlus.

Interestingly, both Kocoatrait’s Madras Collection and North Mada Street’s range are trying to revive interest in traditional flavors of Tamil Nadu. The flavors (beyond them being included in chocolate) presented by Kocoatrait are very common and prevalent in Tamil Nadu even today but in many other formats. For instance, Sarkarai Pongal is simply sweet pongal and this dish is made very often. Ditto for Kozhukkattai, a dish associated with Lord Ganesha. But these are not flavors one would imagine anywhere outside those dishes. Even flowers like Malligai (Jasmine) and Panneer Roja (not to be confused with paneer) are not conventionally flavors but more known for fragrances, and it is very interesting that they have been converted into tasteable flavors! Panai Sarkarai is palm sugar, and Panakam is a jaggery-based drink made during Rama Navami in Tamil Nadu – so these are flavors in another format, and these goes well with the idea of chocolate

North Mada Street’s range is already available via many other vendors and famous shops in Tamil Nadu. These are very popular and well-loved snack items. Where North Mada Street innovates is not to fight those other brands on taste/quality (which could be true too – I have not tasted the products), but on highly innovative packaging. They bring FMCG-style quirky packaging that was once restricted to mass-produced snacks like chips and kurkure, to traditional Tamil Nadu snacks!



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