Kauvery Group of hospitals sign up MS Dhoni as brand ambassador, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity

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MS Dhoni Meets Actor Vijay, Sends Social Media In A Frenzy

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Former India captain MS Dhoni and actor Vijay recently met in Chennai. Both were at a studio for their respective shooting schedules. The Instagram account of the Indian Premier League (IPL) team Chennai Super Kings (CSK) shared an image of the two highly popular celebrities together. “Master and the blaster,” CSK captioned the post. While Vijay’s movie Master received a blockbuster opening in January this year, Dhoni is lovingly called the “blaster” by his fans because of his cracking shots with the bat.

The caption of the Instagram post, which has received more than 4 lakh likes in an hour, also appeared to a play on the song ‘Master the Blaster’ featuring Vijay from the movie. The Tamil star was shooting for his next movie ‘Beast’ when Dhoni ran into him.

The snap was also shared on CSK’s Twitter account.

Like Vijay, Dhoni enjoys a massive following and is highly admired as CSK captain in Tamil Nadu. The cricketer’s fans call him “Thala”, meaning leader in Tamil. And Vijay is called “Thalapathy”, which also means leader or commander.

Vijay was also the brand ambassador of CSK in 2008. Seeing the “leaders” of cricket and cinema together, their fans went into a frenzy and showered praise on their “Thala” and “Thalapathy”.

“Picture of the year,” said one user.

Another user said, “Two lions meeting each other.”


“Cricket legend and cinema legend,” said a third user.

Several images of Dhoni and Vijay were shared on Twitter as well. Check some of them below.

No one can match the Craze of this two Men #MSDhoni #ThalapathyVijay pic.twitter.com/OKz3OqDPfE — Pmw Studios (@PmwStudios) August 12, 2021

#ThalaDhoni has walked straight into the #Beast set after knowing #ThalapathyVijay is shooting nearby for his new film!

The CAMRADERIE between them pic.twitter.com/jJAiAc8TKt — Jeya Suriya (@MSPMovieManiac) August 12, 2021

Dhoni is set to leave for the UAE later this month to participate in the remaining part of the IPL that was suspended in India in May due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, Vijay is working on ‘Beast’, in which he stars opposite Pooja Hegde.

Salt, sugar and the ingredients of a dilemma for brands, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity

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ITC’s strategy reset using disruptive biz models While talking about its recent acquisition of Sunrise Foods, Puri said it will enable ITC to address the growing opportunities in branded spices in underpenetrated markets. See More Details

At a recent annual global meeting of the top managers of a processed food giant, the immediate priority laid out before the managers was the urgency with which the company’s portfolio needed to be transformed into a healthier mix. Even if some of India’s growing one-billion-plus potential consumers were not fussing about the salt, sugar and fat content, they still needed to be told about the healthier options on the table.“While sales, profits and distribution targets are on auto pilot, it’s nutrition while retaining taste, and getting masses to increase the consumption of low-salt, low-sugar and low-fat foods, which are the biggest challenges we face,” said a senior manager of the company, speaking on the condition of anonymity.Almost every domestic or multinational packaged food company, from Nestle, PepsiCo, McCain and Mondelez , to McDonald’s , ITC, Britannia and Parle, say they have prioritised better-for-health food as a core focus area, even as scrutiny mounts globally over the portfolios of food and beverage makers.Industry executives say that it is now non-negotiable for these companies to reduce the unhealthy components in their products. All this, while pushing for market space in a country that is considered a core bastion of growth for large multinationals.“While packaged processed food companies are facing the dilemma over whether to prioritise health or taste, it is crucial to balance both. No brand can afford to ignore the part of business that is recognised as good-for-you,” said Devendra Chawla, managing director at Spencer’s Retail and Nature’s Basket, which runs close to 200 retail stores across India.The companies say that they are committed to ‘good food’, at a time when stakeholder consent and striking a balance between profit and health will be key to drive sales and profits. But a majority of Indian consumers are not fussy about salt, sugar and fat content, and profits are still coming from the mass products.“Taste remains an intrinsic part of snacking in India. There have been examples of many brand variants with lesser sugar, salt or fat, which have had to be withdrawn because of lack of consumer offtake,” said Mayank Shah, senior category head at biscuits and confectionery maker Parle Products “‘Good food’ is a key pillar of our sustainability strategy ,” said Vikas Mittal, MD, South Asia at frozen snacks maker McCain Foods (India). It is looking at a portfolio expansion to protein-based snacking options, besides reducing salt and oil in its food, and exploring how to do away with palm oil usage by 2025.Last month, Nestle India , which makes Maggi noodles and KitKat chocolate, began releasing a series of ad campaigns across mainstream platforms to ‘reassure’ consumers, just days after an international report cited a presentation by its Swiss parent which noted that over 60% of its food and beverage portfolio is unhealthy.A Nestle India spokesperson said: “We care about what matters to them [consumers], what concerns them and we are there for them if they have any questions or suggestions.” Recent launches by Nestle in the ‘healthier’ space include Munch chocolate with fruits and nuts, a spinach-infused Maggi noodles and health drink Milo with micro-nutrients.Others like McDonald’s have said they have removed artificial preservatives, reduced sodium and mayonnaise content over 20% and 40% respectively, introduced whole wheat buns, and plan to offermore balanced options from recommended food groups for children.Yet, all of it may not be enough. “The definition of health has completely changed in the pandemic. The health portfolio growth will have to be precipitated and the efforts by companies need to be in sync,” said Chawla.However, the biggest missing piece in the portfolio transformation is the absence of stringent nutrition labelling regulations. The controversial front-of-pack labelling still hasn’t seen light of day in India. The labelling norms for salt, sugar and fat declaration have been in discussion stage for about seven years between national foods regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and packaged food companies.Various makers of juices, cookies and confectionery have asked the FSSAI to exempt them from the labelling norms, citing that it is ‘impractical’ to do so. The draft regulations remain in consultation stages and advocacy groups say that companies are resisting implementing of the guidelines in their own interests.“Processed food companies are trying to resist front-of-pack warning labels since it might impact their sales, market share and profits,” said Sunita Narain, director general at research and advocacy think tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).The CSE is among the organisations that have been pushing for immediate enforcement of nutrition and healthier foods guidelines. “Transformation of portfolios with reduced levels of salt, sugar and fat and informing consumers in a transparent manner are not being taken seriously. We are fighting for this cause consistently,” Narain said.In July, advocacy groups led by the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) and the Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPi) said in a joint statement that the per capita sales of ultra-processed food would increase to a worrying high of eight kg by 2024, up from six kg in 2019. The groups called for stringent guidelines about the consumption of processed and ultra-processed food.“Regulators and policymakers need to identify mandatory thresholds that are within the limits as prescribed by the WHO. As these will apply across the board, we can be sure only then that the entire market will adapt to and meet the new standards,” said Keshav Desiraju, former health secretary of India in the detailed joint statement.For the packaged food industry, it’s their move.