Balaji Wafers’ Strength Is Quality And Affordable Products: Jay Sachdev, Balaji Wafers

Event: 2nd AIM-AMA Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium, January 5-7, 2014
Session: Relevance Of Research In The Marketplace
Speaker: Jay Sachdev, Balaji Wafers (Linkedin)

Jay Sachdev in his presentation on the company’s marketing strategy starts with a short video that explains how the company operates, shows its various manufacturing units and talks about its distribution network and major brands. From the video clip one can easily gauge that the Balaji brand is not an outcome of intensive marketing and advertising campaigns but has been created solely by the importance the company places on delivering quality and affordable products and various CSR initiatives that it has undertaken, making it a classic example of ‘word of mouth’ promotion.

After making Balaji a household name in Gujarat and parts of MP, Rajasthan, Goa and Maharashtra, the company plans to go global by introducing products that will appeal to both local and global consumers. Speaking about the company’s market strategy, Sachdev says that Balaji’s strength is quality and affordable products and they do not do any advertising or marketing, run any retail schemes or promotions to sell our products. He says that instead of wasting money on superficial aspects like packaging and design which does not really benefit either the company or the consumer, Balaji believes in investing on ensuring that fresh and quality products reach the market.

During the Q&A session, couple of interesting questions are asked by the audience regarding Balaji Wafer’s strategy and positioning in the market. To a question asked by Prof. Sheth on Balaji’s strategy to compete with Frito Lay (a Pepsi brand), which may crowd them out of the market since it has a larger capital investment, Sachdeva explains that Frito Lay is not a threat to them as Balaji’s products are comparatively lower priced (almost 50% less), it has popularized the concept of packaged snacks in India which has greatly contributed to the growth of the packaged snacks market in India and that it has has the support of a strong distribution network. He goes on to mention that unlike its competitors, Balaji does not use artificial flavours in its snacks and prefers to use local spices which gives a made-at-home taste to its snacks.

To a question posed on how Balaji manages to keep its price affordable despite engaging in research, sustainability, product innovation and new manufacturing techniques, he says that Balaji makes good use of freely available resources like water and air! It makes biogas (worth approximately 15-20 lacs) to use in the canteen by treating waste water from the plant; generates electricity worth  25-30 lacs which is used in the plant. Benefits from these savings are transferred to the consumer. Apart from all this, Balaji also concentrates on ensuring that it maintains good relations with distributors & retailers who give the brand good visibility at the point of sale.