INDIA: Amid Coronavirus, where at one end, companies are running out of money and shutting down, there’s one company which is rising from the ashes in the COVID-19 lockdown. Leading food company Parle Products logged record sales of its Parle-G biscuits in April and May.
Even though the company refused to show their specific sales statistics, they affirmed that during March, April and May the company experienced their best months and achieved a unique feat of selling the most amount of biscuits in their eight decades. The simple reason behind the sales of fairly priced biscuits going up massively in the country was because people stacked up on easy and simple essential food items during the lockdown.
The overall market share has grown up by 5% of which 80– 90% of this growth has come from the Parle-G sales alone. Category head at Parle products Mayank Shah, claimed it to be unprecedented.
“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.”
He further added “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.”
A thorough analysis on FMCG players, was conducted by senior director, Anuj Sethi at Crisil Ratings, which showed that, “consumers were taking whatever was available – be it premium or economy priced. Some players may have focused more on premium value SKUs as well.”
“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.” said Sethi.
Crisil’s Sethi claimed that consumers make trade-offs in the overall food category – rather than within biscuits. That has led to rise in premium biscuits consumption. “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,” he added.
All over India, 120 out of a total of 130 factories all owned by Parle products are continuous 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.
During the COVID-19 lockdown phase, to guarantee product availability at retail stores the company restocked its distribution channels within 7 days.