How these Biscuit Barons are Munching On a Pack of History Earlier assumed as a sick man's diet, biscuits today have become break-time munchies.

By Sugandh Bahl

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Sweet or salty, soft or crunchy, biscuits have always been a favorite chai-time snack. With accessibility to multiple options from the low cost variety at the "kirana' stores to the branded ones at the malls, customer retention in this industry is only possible through strong brand building strategies. To stay ahead of each other, these legacy brands constantly refurbish themselves, however, sticking to the original flavours to retain the recall value.

Brand Recall

Earlier assumed as a sick man's diet, biscuits today have become break-time munchies. With a turnover of over Rs 2000 crore, the market leader Parle-G has remained a strong household name with its one product which is considered as a wholesome diet. This product, launched in 1939, has held the long time legacy with the same packaging for about a century. "We have made it a tradition to deliver both health and taste, along with value for money positioning." says the Parle family.

On the other hand, Britannia's Good Day biscuit, having 38 per cent of Indian market share, has been showing a steady growth since time immemorial. Since 1882, the company's success has been attributed to Good Day and Marie Gold. After witnessing its increasing market demand, it has further set to go in for upgradation to cater to dynamic customer needs and also foraying into the cookies segment. Relatively newer brands, Priyagold and Anmol biscuits have also become powerful name in the FMCG sector. Navin Agarwal, Director, Priyagold, explains that the company has put efforts to increase its market base and have always strived hard to provide their consumers with quality and quantity and at right price.

With a turnover of over Rs 1200 crores, Anmol biscuits have covered a long journey. From being a single location player, today it covers a wide network of over 3,000 distributors across north and east India. "Our principle of giving you a better taste without compromising on quality separates us from the rest," says the Chairman Baijnath Choudhary.

Making a Mark

It becomes extremely difficult for legacy players to maintain the mark of excellence in their products and services on a continuous basis. Studies suggest that at least one aspect of the legacy brand should remain untouched to maintain the brand recall. Then they need their revival plans as well. Aiming to attract a large section of the youth, Britannia is set to restage its popular sandwich cream biscuit brand, Treat. "We will continue to innovate and launch delightful health products to help people get more out of their lives every day," says Managing Director Varun Berry.

On the other hand, Parle Products recently unveiled Parle Platina, a new range of premium products. "Parle Platina has been stemmed from extensive research, showing that it needed a rejuvenated approach to reach consumers in the premium segment", says Mayank Shah, Category head, Parle Products. An extensive consumer research shows further that these companies are rebranding their products to get in line with the aspirations of the youth. Anmol biscuits have recently roped in actor Akshay Kumar, where as Priyagold has tied up with Saif Ali Khan.

Exploring New Pastures

Rightly said that "one cannot control everything in life but can control what he/she puts in their bodies." Today, people are becoming health conscious, knowing how to feed the body with nutrients and not calories. Rising number of healthconscious consumers is boosting the country's biscuit market too. In addition to being a wholesome snack, few biscuits are also considered as nutrition supplement and healthy foods.

Moreover, augmenting disposable income along with changing lifestyle and increasing awareness regarding healthy diet are some of the factors expected to propel the demand for biscuits over the course of coming years. The brand slogan of Britannia "Eat Healthy Think Better" is the company's key asset in such times. The 90-year-old Bangalore-based company Britannia Industries, continues to improve the quality of their products to meet the consumers demand and prevail over the competitive edge. They have a variety of biscuits even considering the health and economy to the lifestyle oriented types.

"We are working on a strategy of becoming the next billion," is all Varun Berry wishes to proclaim to the masses. Priyagold biscuits are also foraying into healthy biscuit segment. Soon they would be launching their all new Butter Delight biscuits in the market. They are also entering the noodles segment to expand their product portfolio.

According to brand expert Pakhie Saxena, "The category has also evolved to include cookies as a key offering, resulting in the competitive landscape to include players such as ITC, Mondelez, in addition to Parle, Britannia and other legacy players. Companies which are focusing on added attributes: digestive, sugar free, multigrain, new flavours, etc. are succeeding in commanding a premium segment."

These companies don't produce an array of products but concentrate on the few they have. They are mostly focussed on building a good relationship with the customers. And in doing so, they not only focus on keeping up to the old customer's expectation, but are also trying to build new customers base. As rightly said that "You "gotta' risk it to get the Biscuit!"

(This article was first published in the September 2017 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)

Sugandh Bahl

Former Feature Writer, Entrepreneur India Magazine

Journalism has been in my roots since my school days. Beginning with a content specialist at CRY organisation to landing up being a Feature writer/correspondent at The Entrepreneur Magazine, life has experienced ups and downs fairly well. A foodie by nature and pet over at heart, currently I am thoroughly enjoying my tenure at The Entrepreneur!

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