Baking bread over an open gas flame? While it may sound like an unusual kitchen technique, it is common practice in India to prepare bread in this manner. Flatbreads are one of the most important dishes and are found at practically every meal in the country. In general, it can be said that Indian food is very spicy and often quite hot with major regional differences to be found throughout the country. “The major common denominator, however, is that no matter where the food is being prepared, it is probably being done so with gas. Not only is this true for curries and Tandoori dishes, but also for the traditional Roti or Naan – typical Indian breads,” explains Chandro Kalro. The Managing Director of the home appliance manufacturer TTK Prestige Limited is someone who should know. After all, it is his company, founded in 1928 as part of the TTK Group, headquartered in Bangalore, which is the leading manufacturer of cooking appliances and is being known as experts in gas cookers. In India they are simply called “hobs” and they are often purchased as table top models, but recently a range of built-in models has made its way to the market.
After China, the Indian market is the second-largest growth market and when it comes to the gas cooking segment, it is especially complex and price sensitive. This presents a great challenge to manufacturers aiming for success on the market. TTK Prestige decided to pursue a very special strategy – with strong support from its longtime partner SCHOTT. “The idea was to position our gas cookers with tempered glass from SCHOTT in the premium segment, advertising with ‘German technology’ as well as with the SCHOTT brand,” explains Kalro. “And it was not easy!” adds Astrid Rotarius, Sales Director for Asia Pacific at SCHOTT Flat Glass. “In the end, it was all about gaining an acceptance of the simple equation that higher quality, which brings the customer more safety and more durability, essentially means having to pay a higher price for the product.”
The strategy has paid off. It was supported by a creative marketing campaign with highly popular brand ambassadors from Bollywood. With this campaign TTK Prestige was able to win over the Indian public within two years. The result? An increase in sales for gas cookers with “A touch of German Excellence” almost four times higher than previously. Recently, another marketing campaign for gas cookers utilizing SCHOTT glass has been launched. “Though a modern approach to preparing Indian food using induction cooking has been gaining acceptance, the traditional way of cooking with gas will probably remain the preferred technology for many years to come,” predicts Kalro. And that means that the flatbreads specially prepared with gas flames will continue being an important aspect of Indian cuisine.
Bollywood makes it possible
“Wow!” exclaims husband Abhishek Bachchan as he greets his Indian film beauty, wife Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, in their kitchen. As soon as she realizes that his comment was not actually meant about her, but rather their new gas cooker made with glass from SCHOTT, she shoots him a dirty look before storming off. Over-the-top love, bitter fights and finales filled with humorous reconciliation are the well-known ingredients of Indian Bollywood films. The spot struck a chord with Indians everywhere – and brought the company the desired success it was banking on.