The high birth rate in the country, along with rising awareness and the growing affordability of packaged baby food, positively impacted the growth of baby food in the country. The increasing number of C-sections was also a factor, as recovering mothers increasingly adopt a mixture of breastfeeding and milk formula for their babies.
With Nestlé Pakistan’s Cerelac brand being the only significant player in dried baby food, marketing and awareness of such products remains limited to high- and middle-income households. Moreover, because infants from a very early age are given home-cooked food and fruits to develop their eating habits, the consumption of dried baby food is limited, and product penetration slow.
Mass advertising for standard milk formula and follow-on milk formula is not allowed in the country. Infant milk formula, suitable for babies aged 0-6 months, can only be prescribed by a doctor; hence, companies use direct selling techniques to promote such brands to doctors.
Dried baby food is still a niche category, with consumption limited to higher- and middle-income urban households. This is because it is considered a luxury item rather than a necessity, and mothers are inclined to feed their children home-cooked food to provide essential nutrients.
International brands dominated baby food in Pakistan in 2018, primarily because of their first-mover advantage, which helped them gain consumer loyalty and trust before local competitors became established in the market. Moreover, international brands enjoy strong brand recall, as they were the first to introduce products in this category and educate the market whilst carving out a niche for themselves.
The leading brands in baby food have been investing to convince consumers to switch from smaller brands. Prominent shelf displays, widespread distribution and consistent mass marketing by brands such as Cerelac, Nido, PediaSure and Meiji have helped them gain massive recall, which prevents consumers from trying other brands.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Packaged Food market research database.