To say that electricity, or the lack thereof, is the most pressing issue for the majority of the population at this time of year is a huge understatement. However, it is a year-round concern for frozen foods’ manufacturers (highlighted in our cover story this month), as the very existence of their business depends on the availability and constant supply of electricity.
Pakistan’s food industry has changed significantly in the last decade, rapidly progressing from generic, unbranded items to packaged and then branded foods. Basic items such as water, milk, rice, yoghurt and even rotis have undergone a transformation as multinationals and local companies have sought to provide consumers with a product of consistent quality, which they were less likely to find when buying the generic alternative.
Frozen food is a natural progression of this trend; it capitalises to some extent, on the consumers’ need for convenience, which, as some frozen foods manufacturers point out, resulted from the emergence and rapid growth of nuclear families with two breadwinners. But it is more than that; it is yet another step towards a more ‘instant’ kind of life, where everything, including food in this case, can be prepared within a matter of minutes. And instant solutions are more important now than ever before – not just because more men and (more importantly) women are working, but because there are far too many other concerns competing for our share of mind and time.
Therefore if you really think about it, the emergence of frozen food has allowed people (in a limited sort of way) to shift their focus away from food and on to other (perhaps more important) pursuits, such as careers, businesses etc. If this is done in moderation, it really cannot be a bad thing. However, as explained in our cover story, the power crisis has not done frozen foods’ brands or their manufacturers any favours, resulting in lack of consistency of the finished product, a quality which goes against everything a ‘brand’ stands for.
Moving on, however, our July issue also explores the trials and travails faced by young people in their quest to establish themselves in the ad industry. The problem occurs at the very outset, as most advertising agencies in
Pakistan have yet to establish proper hiring and HR policies, an issue that has oft been highlighted by in the last decade. But even more than hiring policies, it is the mismanagement of young people’s expectations by agency personnel that leads to the greatest trouble and ultimately results in high turnover. Aurora
Another issue that has caught our eye this month and is highlighted in The Endgame is that of Coke Studio. Season four has created a buzz on the social networks, what with its coverage in AdAge and the initiation of the Indian franchise. But it seems as if some of the freshness and fizz has gone out, leading to a sort of sameness of sound which is becoming monotonous. Could it be time for Coke Studio to evolve, to go to the next level? To go from being a programme that produces great fusion music, towards becoming a launch pad for emerging new artists? Other brands have tried this and failed, but Coke Studio already has the brand cachet to be able to pull this off. The real question is: does it have the vision?
First published in the July-August 2011 issue of Aurora.