The Rs 9,000-crore Parle Products (makers of Parle-G biscuits) has plans for product launches across categories as well as product extensions with new variants this year. It has also increased its marketing budget from 10 to 15 per cent this year.
The snack food market is pegged at Rs 13,000 crore, while traditional namkeen (salted Indian snacks) is around Rs 5,200 crore. Parle launched its Western snack portfolio in 2008, while it entered the traditional namkeen market in 2012. It will be launching its mixture and bhujia next month in a plastic jar packaging to garner additional visibility in the market, the same sort of packaging it does for Cheeselings, another baked snack from Parle Products. The new packaged namkeen has been test marketed across two states so far. It also launched tasty peanuts sometime back. It will also launch five variants of its traditional namkeen portfolio.
Pravin Kulkarnii, General Manager, Parle Products, says, "We have high expectations from the namkeen category as the response is encouraging. Mixture and bhujia are available only in traditional pouch format in India and it will be the first time that these two variants of namkeen will be available in a jar format. From the current market share of two or three per cent in the namkeen market, we are expecting to increase to more than seven per cent as there is tremendous growth in the last couple of years in the namkeen category. We will surely be getting additional visibility in the market."
The snack foods business in India consists of three categories-western snacks (all potato chips, puff snacks etc), traditional snacks (mixture, chivda, masala peanuts, bhujia) and bridge snacks (where the product format is Western and the taste is Indian).
Experts agree that the chips market has slowed somewhat, at present, and it's following a normal growth rate. The macro snacks category that consist of biscuits, salty snacks, chocolate and confectionary, is growing at 20 per cent year-on-year. Salty snacks is the fastest growing category and is the second largest among the four. That's the reason why innovation is critical to the snack food business and every player is thus launching different variants of snacks. Industry insiders also believe that customers no longer make namkeens at home, and they prefer buying it off the shelves as there's proliferation of choice, packaging and innovation that is helping this category boom and it will continue to grow.
Jayant Kapre, President, United Biscuits India, says, "While in the biscuit and sugar confectionary categories -the growth rates are slower; however, the fastest growing categories are salty snacks and chocolates. However, as historically India did not have access to chocolates, the chocolate-based products (biscuits with a chocolate base as well) are growing."
Being the leader with 38 per cent value share and 42 per cent volume share in the biscuit market and a 23 per cent share in the confectionery market in terms of value in India, Parle Products has grown to become a multi-million dollar company. Kulkarnii too adds that every state has about five local players in the namkeen category. Besides namkeen, Parle Products is aiming to touch eight to 9 per cent market share in potato wafers from the current 6 per cent share, while it is thinking to revamp its FullToss product now that has only 3 per cent share.
The snacks segment that is dominated by big players like PepsiCo Frito-Lay, ITC Food's snack brand Bingo and Haldiram's and regional players like Rajkot-based Balaji Wafers, to name a few.