Our freshness journey around the world takes a unique and exciting stop in the country of India. Though an integral part of the Asian sub-continent, the Indian concepts of fresh flavor and everyday freshness are quite different from those of China or Japan.
It is with India where flavors, fragrances and even experiences are linked to both the secular and the spiritual. We have not experienced such linkages before with this series of consumer research studies in regard to perceptions of freshness. It again underscores the rationale for more specific market research and product development when approaching a new market especially a country as massive and as diverse, within itself, as India.
Freshness in India
What did our Indian panelists imagine when they were asked about everyday freshness? What words about freshness came to mind? Indian consumers associated crystal clear, sparkling and cooling with freshness along with citrus flavors and colors such as white, green and blue – or no color at all, such as transparent. These words were associated with a unique set of feelings; the feeling of freshness after sleep, the sound of waves, chirping birds, the smell of the earth after a rain; there were floral smells mentioned, along with herbal and fruit smells.
The everyday freshness associations led to images of places or states of mind. Some of these images included blue skies, green-leafy vegetables, meditation, gardens, parks and river beds. To illustrate secular and non-secular divisions in terms of freshness panelists described both drinking the first cup of coffee or tea in the morning and singing devotional songs as inspiring fresh feelings.
The secular/spiritual division carries over into products as well, where both were associated with freshness. Beyond that divide, many of the references were more distinctly Indian. This is an obvious that requires further explanation. In no other market research of the countries that have been presented in prior posts, were responses quite this specific. Therefore, secular references included Liril Soap rather than just “soap,” Indian Basil, Coconut water and fresh lime. More spiritual references to freshness included Sandalwood paste and Agarbathi (an incense) used in devotions. To be sure, there were product references of a more generalized nature including aftershave, fresh baked (Indian) bread, talcum powder, clean clothes and toothpaste.
Deeper Elements of Freshness
What were the deeper sensorial elements Indians correlated with “freshness?” The consumer panel refined their comments as to emotion, setting and products to arrive at the following:
In terms of freshness, the Indian consumer saw the elements of freshness as being both refreshing and exciting. These twin attributes or components of freshness have been seen in other pieces of market research for other countries for example, Mexico.
In terms of color, the refreshing aspect is seen as blue or white; with the exciting being “light and bright.” The texture of refreshing is soft and in the case of exciting, it is like a surprise or a flavor burst for example a filled center.
A refreshing flavor is something that has an initial burst, but is long lasting while exciting can be cooling or minty. In both aspects, long-lasting, intense flavors are desirable. We must remember, after all, that Indian cuisines from all states and territories have intense flavors and aromas.