Everyone’s go-to biscuit brand Parle-G, a name which has been a common choice since 1938, achieved a unique feat of selling the most amount of biscuits during this coronavirus lockdown. 

Even though Parle Products, the creators of the Parle-G label, refused to show their specific sales statistics, but they affirmed that during March, April and May the company experienced their best months in their eight decades.

“We’ve grown our overall market share by nearly 5%… And 80– 90% of this growth has come from the Parle-G sales. This is unprecedented,” Mayank Shah, category head at Parle Products, was quoted as saying by multiple outlets.

During the COVID-19 lockdown phase, the sales of fairly priced biscuits went up massively in the country as people stacked up on easy and simple essential food items.

“Consumers were taking whatever was available – be it premium or economy priced. Some players may have focused more on premium value SKUs as well,” said Anuj Sethi, senior director, Crisil Ratings, which recently conducted a thorough analysis on FMCG players. 

“Players had been focusing on enhancing distribution reach, especially in rural areas in the past 18-24 months; this worked well for them during the pandemic,” he further added. 

The company also restocked its distribution channels within 7 days to guarantee product availability at retail outlets during the COVID-19 lockdown phase.

Speaking on the tactics adopted by the company during the lockdown phase, Mayank Shah said: “During the lockdown, Parle-G became the comfort food for many; and for several others it was the only food they had on them. This is a common man’s biscuit; people who cannot afford bread – buy Parle-G.”

“We had several state governments requisitioning us for biscuits… they were in constant touch with us, asking about our stock positions. Several NGOs bought humongous quantities from us. We were lucky to have restarted production from March 25 onwards,” he added.

Parle Products currently has 130 factories all over India with 120 of them continuously producing units while 10 are owned premises.

The Parle-G brand falls under the ‘below-Rs100 per kg’ affordable / value category, which holds one-third of the total industry revenues and accounts for over 50% of the volume sold.

“Premiumisation in biscuits needs to be seen in comparison with other categories within food – such as chips, chocolates and soft drinks; most of these are more expensive than biscuits,” claimed Crisil’s Sethi. 

“So consumers make these trade-offs in the overall food category – rather than within biscuits. That has led to rise in premium biscuits consumption,” he added. 

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