Since 2017, Protinex, the flagship brand of Danone India has been spearheading the national agenda to empower Indians with knowledge and access to protein-rich diets. “Not everyone has the same disposable income, but health is important for everyone. Health has to be democratised. Protinex has different price points to help satisfy that particular need,” says Sriram Padmanabhan, marketing director, Danone India.
Protinex, the flagship brand of Danone has launched the second season of its health awareness initiative, Protinex Protein Abhiyaan, this month. This annual campaign is an attempt to educate consumers about the importance and role of adequate protein consumption for better health and well-being.
“The idea behind the campaign starts with our mission to bring health through food to as many people as possible. We believe that for India to progress, Indians need to be healthy. For Indians to be healthy, protein as a macronutrient is one of the components, when it comes to diet and nutrition,” says Padmanabhan.
Over 70 percent of Indians do not consume enough protein and are not even aware about the role and importance of protein, he says. The campaign had its genesis in this revelation.
Metamorphosis of the brand
In 2022, the Abhiyaan achieved a milestone, reaching 20 million people with 1.5 lakh pledges. This year Protinex aims to bust myths about protein and on-board more experts and dieticians as part of the programme. The brand will also take the Abhiyaan to Delhi and Bombay where experts will teach consumers on how to lead a healthy diet and lifestyle.
"Protinex is extending the pledge to create social impact for consumers. For every 1,000 pledges, we will be donating Protinex packs to ASHA workers," Sriram Padmanabhan, marketing director, Danone India
In a bid to make the Abhiyaan more meaningful and impactful, Padmanabhan says, “Protinex is extending the pledge to create social impact for consumers. For every 1,000 pledges, we will be donating Protinex packs to ASHA workers.”
Protinex’s agenda as a brand with strong equity and legacy is to normalise the topic of health and make it as a part of everyday conversation. The brand has undergone a major revamp and changed its visual identity, and the architecture of its packaging at the start of this year to appeal to today’s generation.
Consumer insights & trends
Padmanabhan gives a macro picture. “In the post-Covid world, there is definitely more focus on health consciousness amongst Indians. There has been an explosion of brands and categories in the health space which has led to far more conversations in everyday lives. Gone are the days when health products will only come to the house if it is recommended by a doctor. Now people themselves research and act accordingly,” he says.
He also highlights the increasing influence of friends and family in matters of health. “You listen to their advice especially if you have the same ailment,” says Padmanabhan, adding, “India is a case of AND and not a case of OR. Both truths coexist; Indians have become more experimentative whether it is traditional health solutions like Ayurveda or Western medicines and concepts and even new age practices. People are far more cognizant about their health.”
Market size and strategy
The adult nutrition category is about Rs 1,000 crores in India as per Nielsen and Protinex holds a 26 percent market share. Markets for the brand are spread across India; its market leadership is more in the Northern and Western parts of the country.
"Indians have become more experimentative whether it is traditional health solutions like Ayurveda or Western medicines and concepts and even new age practices. People are far more cognizant about their health," Sriram Padmanabhan, marketing director, Danone India
Over the last couple of years, increased awareness, rise of disposable incomes, democratisation of information and penetration of online channels and ecommerce, has made everything, including health products more accessible to people and there has been increasing contribution from tier 1 and tier 2 areas.
Consumers also no longer hold on to the fallacy that if something is healthy it will not be tasty and vice-versa. Padmanabhan reveals that as part of their strategy to increase scale and appeal, Protinex has got a range of products catering to different taste requirements. People in the East and Southern part of India prefer vanilla flavour and people in North and West prefer more chocolaty flavours and therefore the brand has specific flavour variants to cater to individual tastes.
An ideal consumer for Protinex would be above 30 who is experiencing lack of strength and energy. Padmanabhan says, “Once you are above 30, you tend to lose muscle mass and it accelerates if you don’t do anything about it. People who need strength, stamina and energy in this age group and are looking for healthier solutions, adopt Protinex as one of their preferred solutions.”