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SEA Insights

Satiating Indonesia's snack-time appetites

Mahesh Agarwal

Executive Director

Shopper 20.03.2017 / 00:00

Grocery shopping snacks 2 col

Indonesians are looking for specific snacks – and they aren’t getting them

Brands in the snack and beverage sectors have long understood that consumers make different choices depending on the occasion; the same consumer can make very different choices depending on the time of day and what they are doing.

To better understand these occasion-based choices and where there may be gaps between consumer needs and what the market offers, TNS Indonesia studied more than 4,000 consumers across Indonesia. What we found was quite surprising: the gaps in snacking choices were almost the exact opposite of those in the drinks category.

While there are many healthy drinks options, there are very few beverages that are seen as indulgent, at least among branded ready-to-drink (RTD) drinks. In contrast, the snacking sector is packed with savouries, biscuits and chocolates, skewing towards indulgence and providing little for those seeking healthier choices.

Where are the beverages of indulgence?

In recent years, beverages have become associated with health in Indonesia. In addition to fruit juices, which are seen as natural health boosters, there are milk options – seen as fortifiers – and functional drinks such as isotonic, vitamin, energy, green bean and yoghurt drinks. These are all on top of bottled mineral water, which is one of the biggest drink categories in the country. If you want a healthy drink in this market, you are spoilt for choice.

However, there is a clear gap in the market for indulgent RTD beverages, which are currently provided by a mushrooming number of take-away counters, such as Cha Time and Bubble Tea.

There are two clear needs around drinks that brands can potentially meet. The first is to provide a sensorial indulgence. Consumers are craving multi-textural drinks that provide a range of experiences in each sip – refreshment, something to chew on and something that is slightly filling. Mogu Mogu is cashing in on this need gap, but there continues to be plenty of room for innovation in this space.

The second need is a premium product that sends a social signal. Drinks that make consumers feel special and can make an impression in a social situation are important and deserve further exploration from brands, particularly in a market with a lower consumption of beer and other alcohol due to religious considerations.

The new brand Fayrouz has been launched to fill this gap.


Room for health

Contrastingly, snacks have always been about indulgence, and lately even more so. Consumers can choose between salty snacks, cheesy snacks and chocolatey snacks. There are also biscuits, usually sweet and often multi-textural – almost always indulgent.

What’s needed to fill the gap in this sector? Healthier snacks that taste good and are less indulgent.

This opportunity for brands to develop healthy snacks can be split into two broad areas.

Firstly, to offer snacks that are lighter and contain healthy ingredients. Light snacks – such as baked, low-calorie or no-cholesterol options – will fill this gap, but there is currently a dearth in choices in the Indonesian market.

The other potential growth area is in superfoods, which are healthy, tasty snacks that double as food supplements for a healthy energy boost. Branded snacks in the superfoods category – such as Fitbar snack bars – are also up against fresh fruit, nuts and seeds. This segment is potentially large, and remains open to opportunities.


Snack and beverage manufacturers that can successfully tap into these emerging consumer needs and provide spot-on solutions will be in a strong position to help future-proof their growth.

Source : Kantar TNS Indonesia

Editor's Notes

This article was first published in BrandZ’s Top 50 Most Valuable Indonesian Brands 2016.

If you would like to speak to Mahesh or find out more about shopper trends in Indonesia, please contact us here.

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