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Within a year of its launch, Pulse contributed over Rs 150 crore to the DS Group’s kitty.
Agar product chatpata ho, toh aapki aankh bandh honi chahiye, varna maza nahi aaya (if the product is tangy, then your eyes should close automatically to relish it, or else it is no fun).
That was the lone instruction from Rajiv Kumar, vice chairman of the DS Group, for his R&D team working on the Pass Pass Pulse candy. But vision and direction is one thing and execution is another. I have been observing the ballistic growth of pulse candy and often contemplate - how did they achieve this end result? Well, I think, I have hit the sweet spot and my thoughts are shared here.
Yes! Indians have palette for chatpata (tangy) things:
On closer look, we find that one complement other. For example - Gupchup is crispy and plain and water is tangy; puffed rice in bhel is plan and masala is tangy; raw mango is tangy and salt/masala bring out the flavors. There is dichotomy of plain and "chatpata" everywhere in Indian culture. Perhaps that is reason why Momoms have made it to most of the cities in India now.Plain and Masala. That's tempting duo! So what it has to do with Pulse's success?Kachha Aam, a sugar candy by Parle was precursor to Pulse. Parle had already launched and made great success with "Kachha Aam" confectionery. So, taking back inspiration for Indian childhood - research and development team at DS Group asked themselves a simple question? What value addition can be done to existing products in the market?
Research and Development team realized they can give Kachha Aam a twist and add spices in form of jaljira or proprietary masala. Remember, how Indian culture loves duo of raw mango with salt/masala? That was step one.
Second step was to put this masala in product and that was biggest challenge. Let me help you understand this challenge in detail. Have you eaten candy,toffee or any other confectionery where center is filled with variety. There are number of companies that had done that in past - eclairs with chocolate twist, center fresh with mint blast and other with caramel liquid in the core. You get the idea!
Image: Illustration when masala/jaljira is kept at core of candy
That was not an answer for innovation at Pulse, because, if they had kept chunk of spicies/masala/jaljira at core then, people would be surprised with it in the end when confectionery is almost finished and it would to too salty, spicy and intense. User take away with tongue and memory when finishing the candy will be masala. Idea is to give user mix world - kachha aam and masala, gradually. On other hand, if company would have given masala packs with confectionery then, it wouldn't have been a value add because pain associated with product usage and user could have anyway done at home for free. So, they had to come with a way to put in candy.
Illustration explaining cylinder/pipe designed at core of Pulse to hold masala/jaljira.
Take a look at picture below, in stead of core - masala is distributed across the cylinder/pipe. Whenever user starts eating candy, first the dilute the closing of cylinder with their saliva and enjoy the taste of plain pulse. After sometime, when cylinder is open then saliva is free to move from one end to another and gradually mixing masala with it and giving a gradual taste like Indian's like. Now when you eat Pulse next take a close look and validate my assumptions. That probably is very small, yet biggest innovation DS group did convention Kachha aam candy and made Pulse it huge success.