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This Diwali should I gift Chocolates or Mithai?

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All of us know that as Diwali is nearing there is always a debate; should I gift Chocolates or mithai at home, to my friends and my business partners. It’s been a tradition that every part of India celebrates this great festival of lights by sharing joy and happiness with sweets. But over a period of time as the new generation has entered this world there has also been a marginal deviation in the thinking when it comes to gifting and sharing sweets during diwali. This is partially because of the strategy adopted by many chocolate brands (which include homemade chocolate brands and products from the big MNC’s) who have entered this market to capture some share of the mithai market during this great festival across India. Let’s look at some key differentiators between the two.

1.      Traditional & Emotional: Diwali is a festival which has lot of history and tradition which date backs to many years.  Most of them love to preserve the values of traditions connected with sweets made and prepared at home. These traditionally prepared sweets bring in plenty of love and emotional expressions when they are exchanged with your relatives, family members and friends. While the promotional campaigns of many chocolate brands try to bring the emotions through their advertising but they are not able to capture the real essence that a mithai is able to deliver. Every ingredient that goes into a mithai has that warmth and emotional connection with the audience which touches his or her heart.

2.      Wider Choice: There is no limit when you think of preparing mithai. Since mithai is very meticulously prepared by hand the touch of authenticity further enhances its taste, which is missing in chocolates though some brands try to use some special ingredients to come closer to the mithai. The good old parents and grandparents always relish the wider choice that one has when it comes to mithai. The natural ingredients have more positive impression as compared to the artificial flavors.

3.      Pricing v/s Presentation: Mithai’s are still easily affordable as the prices are not so steep. You have a larger choice to pick from. You can taste it at the sweet shop before you decide to buy your preferred mithai.  And when you prepare it at home you can use genuine ingredient to make it healthier, tasty and less expensive. This is not true with Chocolates but when it comes to Corporate gifting due to its attractive packaging and presentation Chocolates scores over the mithai.

4.      Innovative & Delicious: One can experiment lot of innovation while preparing a Mithai and that has been the hallmark of traditional sweets. One of the most popular items that have caught over the years has been the mithai for health conscious audience. This is prepared from quality dry fruits which are preferred over the chocolates by many diabetics as chocolates are perceived to be more rich and sweet. But chocolates have a larger shelf life compared to mithai and therefore it has an added advantage as compared to mithai when gifting to the corporate and sending it out of station through couriers, to far off friends.

Both chocolates and mithais have their merits and demerits when it comes to sharing and gifting during diwali. But with the change in the audience pattern there is a different point of view between the two. While mithai has still stuck to the core values of maintaining the traditional image but the chocolates has wooed the new generation audience with their product and packaging to explore chocolates instead of mithai every diwali and every other festive season.

Let us wait and watch the various marketers in this category are planning and what would be their strategy to woo the mithai audience.

(These are purely personal views of Ganapathy Viswanathan, who is an independent communication consultant with over two decades of experience in branding, communication and public relations, and indiantelevision.com does not subscribe to these views.)

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