No one asks these questions except for me huh? Well anyway my curiosity struck me today when my students were eating Kurkure in front of me. My student Praful said “I don’t like this Lays. It hardly has any chips. Kurkure has more than Lays and is cheaper”
First a little history. Pepsi owns both Lays and Kurkure. Kurkure was launched exclusively for India. Why? Because they do such things
Actually, it’s because MNCs customize products for local markets and for India Kurkure was launched in 1999.
Kurkure and Lays have two different markets. Lays is an international brand while Kurkure is meant for only India. Lays is the butt of many jokes which I thoroughly enjoy. Lays is notorious for giving packets of air with traces of Potato chips. See, I just added to the list of jokes.
Lays has a 58% share in the organized potato chips business. This is after they took over the famous Uncle Chips brand which was owned by Amit Agro Ltd. I am not able to get any information about Lays sales in India. But I can assume it is doing well in India, at least in the organized sector. I can say this because I notice packets of Lays being sold in almost every petty goods store in every neighborhood in Bangalore.
But the more interesting part in the snack business is that of Kurkure. Kurkure seems to be giving more value for money than Lays. A Rs. 5 packet of Kurkure is 21gm but a Rs. 10 packet of Lays is 25gm. I did not realize this until Praful pointed this out. Both these products have air filled in them. Air acts like a preservative. But Kurkure seems to give you more for less? How?
Kurkure is made of Rice Meal. That is one of the ingredients or rather it is the main ingredient. So I Googled ‘rice meal’ and ended up getting information on how to make Poha. That is not what is used to make Kurkure. Lays is just glorified potato chips. But Kurkure is more interesting. Rice meal, these two words reminded me of ‘Bone Meal’ which is a common ingredient in pet foods.
Bone meal is ground up meat or leftover animal parts from slaughterhouse waste. I have seen local meat shops put the inedible animal parts into a bag and then at the end of the day it is collected by pet food manufacturers. Rice meal is just ground up rice. Various grades of rice which is collected from farmers or even poor quality rice which is all ground up.
Rice is always a cheaper commodity than potatoes. It is easier to transport and it isn’t necessary you should use a quality grade of rice to make Kurkure. With Lays you need to have high quality potatoes otherwise you cannot cut it in that particular wavy manner and of course you cannot get that taste which Lays famously advertises as ‘No one can eat just one’
Another advantage is that rice isn’t a difficult commodity to procure and maintain. You don’t need expensive machines like you do with Lays. Quality standards for Lays is high. They actually check if every potato chip is in the right shape or size so that it meets those stringent quality requirements. Kurkure need not meet such stringent quality requirements. Of course they do not because their main ingredient is ground up rice. Haven’t you noticed that Kurkure has no defined shape or size? They look more like cylindrical amoeba or paramecium extending their flagella out.
Cheaper ingredients like rice is what allows the manufacturer to sell the product at a cheaper price. It is amazing how manufacturers can come up with a great product by simply compromising on one ingredient. If you look at the ingredients of Lays and Kurkure, the spices used are all the same, but the main ingredient is different and just by changing that, Kurkure can reach a completely different demography.
I must bow down to the product development team of Pepsico for being able to modify just one ingredient and yet make an amazing product.
God of Online Education