‘Saffola Total protects better than olive oil’ goes the caption of Marico’s latest ad on Saffola. Competition among ‘healthy’ edible oil brands is rising with Marico highlighting the virtues of Saffola’s latest variant in its new communication.
In recent past, Adani Wilmar also tried to compare its Fortune rice bran oil with olive oil. Health consciousness among consumers is fuelling comparisons within edible oil players with Saffola now pitting itself against the increasing number of olive oil brands.
Marico’s latest offering Saffola Total (a blend of 70 per cent rice bran oil and 30 per cent refined safflower seed oil) is supposed to have ‘twice the anti-oxidant power of olive oil along with lower absorption and specifically designed for Indian cooking.’ Multiseed is better than single seed oil, claims the FMCG company. The ad has already been upheld by Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).
Saugata Gupta, Chief Executive Officer, FMCG, Marico, said, “Our communication is adhering to the guidelines set by ASCI. We have a legacy of responsible communication and will continue to maintain the same standards. All Saffola products are backed with strong scientific research and evidence to prove our claims.”
V.N. Dalmia, President, Indian Olive Association, said, “Olive oil is considered aspirational oil by Indian consumers which other edible oils find convenient to compare. Olive oil has the highest MUFA (Mono unsaturated fat) content which is good for consumers. Unlike Adani Wilmar which has complied by removing its ad comparing olive oil, Marico is behaving like a bad boy in the edible oil category.”
Saffola has been facing slow growth in the modern trade where other ‘health’ oriented brands have been giving it stiff competition. According to a modern trade retailer, “Earlier Saffola used to be the only ‘healthy’ edible oil but now new brands in categories such as rice bran and olive oil have taken over.”
Saffola, with variants like Gold, Tasty Blend and now Total, has rice bran and kardi (safflower) as a major part of its blends. But considering that it continued to charge a premium compared with the regular rice bran oils, its share has been falling, claim industry observers. “Saffola as a brand has been getting squeezed at the lower end by rice bran oils and at the high end by olive oils,” added Dalmia. Meanwhile, domestic players like Adani Wilmar would continue to focus on its rice bran oil. As Adani Wilmar COO Angshu Mallick, says, “Rice bran can be domestically sourced and is cheaper than olive oil. We will not enter the olive oil category at this stage.”Indian blend "Saffola" pits itself against olive oil category,