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One Does Not Simply Eat A Chocolate, One Earns It

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By Shweta Madaan:

I know you cannot hear me but I hope it sounds somewhat like Homer Simpson: “Mmm….chocolate!” Chocolate is the masterpiece of sweet-makers which makes everyone go crazy and it dates back to the time of the Mayans. The Hershey Company was the first one to bring chocolate in solid forms. It is one of the few foods that people feel passionate about – a passion that goes beyond the love for the ‘sweetness’ of most candies or desserts. After-all, it is a feel-good food. It is a fact that chocolate contains more than 300 known chemicals, the combinations of which provide the ‘lift’ that is experienced by most of the chocolate eaters.

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In India, the chocolate market is of Rs 2,000 crore and is growing continuously at a rate of 20%. It is not surprising that the global chocolate market has a turnover of about $83.2 billion; the variation is because of consumers’ consumption habits. Here, in India, the per capita consumption of chocolate is 300 grams when compared to 1.9 kilograms in developed markets such as the United Kingdom.

The Indian chocolate industry is dominated by two chocolate giants; Cadbury and Nestle, both multinationals. Cadbury dominates the market with a share of 70 percent whereas Nestle has around 25 per cent build up in the chocolate market in India.

According to an estimate, there are good signs for the Indian chocolate industry because sales have risen by 15% in 2007 to reach 36000 tons. Some emerging brands are ‘Sweet World’, ‘Candico’ and ‘Chocolatiers’ which are marking their presence in several malls. ASSOCHAM Secretary General DS Rawat said, “The consumption of chocolates is steadily increasing in urban and semi-urban areas, registering a compound annual growth rate of 25 per cent. It is expected to cross Rs 7,500 crore by 2015.” The key growth driver is the Indian tradition of gifting sweets, which is now shifting currently from mithais to chocolates because of rise in consumer income levels, prices suitable for everyone and attractive labeling and packaging. This is the reason for the sudden spurt in this industry. It may develop at a much larger scale by targeting its products towards the youth as they consume most of these products. The growth is not at much pace when compared to foreign brands. There is a Delhi-based brand called ‘Chocolatiers’ which started with a small shop in south Delhi’s Chittaranjan Park and is now venturing into malls and multiplexes in NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore and their focus is on designer chocolates. Another firm ‘Candico India’ is available at 400 locations across malls and multiplexes in the country; both of them not much known brands.

Let us look at British and Swiss giants such as Cadbury and Nestle. They are doing a very good business in India. Cadbury has the largest target segment which is focused on the youth. Some of its products are Five Star, Gems, Eclairs, Perk and Dairy Milk which are, without any doubt, the leaders in their segments. Although Cadbury is the market leader as it had 80% of the market in its hands till the 90s. It was after this that Nestle appeared on the scene and from then onward, there has been a tiff between the two for grabbing the No.1 position. Nestle introduced some international names like Kit Kat and Lions and is commanding a 15% share. The reasons behind the success of Cadbury are their maintenance and improvement in quality, meeting the specific needs of consumers, improving its taste and presenting new variants in the market. In India, Nestle trails Cadbury but some of its achievements are a better understanding of local cultures, traditions and needs besides providing best quality at a low cost; which is quite sufficient for grabbing a large market share.

Now, let us look at the Indian chocolate brand Amul. The Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. or Amul is getting ready to challenge Cadbury in the moulded chocolate market. Amul has been lying low for a while with its generic chocolate variants such as Fruit & Nut and Milk. Now, it is planning to segment its chocolates, so as to cater to different age-groups and categories that are likely to consume its brand. It is planning to cash on Cadbury’s damage control activities in its favour. It also has plans of segmenting the market with brands catering to the `impulse’ and `teen’ segments, as well as having brands catering to different occasions. Its impulse segment can taste success instantly because the range and variety of chocolates available in malls seems to be growing day by day, which leads to lot of impulse sales for chocolate companies. With ITC and Parle getting more active in this segment, Amul officials feel it already has its cold chain and distribution network in place to get more products to ride this chain. Presently, is has 5 lakh retail outlets and has 2,600 distributors under its fold.

In India, the per-capita consumption of chocolates has increased from 40gm in 2005 to 110-120 gm. There is a lot of scope for it to grow even further as Indians are developing a palate for dark chocolates as well. But the key challenges that the chocolate market is facing in India are inflationary pressures on raw material prices, lack of government initiatives, high entry barriers due to duopolistic market and price-sensitive consumers. So, for changing the game, the Indian chocolate industry needs to gear itself up for satisfying the consumers’ needs; it has to build its brand like those of international brands and then only can it lead this market. The government must liberalize some of its policies and start taking the initiative so that everyone can taste this wonderful commodity.

Photo Credit: cacaobug via Compfight cc

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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