Thursday, July 14, 2016

Biscuits losing space in cookie jar

The Indian biscuit market is proving to be one tough cookie for evergreen products such as Marie and salt and non-salt crackers. While sales of these popular categories are sliding, cookies have emerged as the largest and fastest growing category.

In 2015-16, the cookie segment, which includes brands such as Mondelez's Bournvita biscuits, Britannia's Good Day and ITC's Delishus, contributed 30% to the overall market and grew by more than 13% over the previous year. In contrast, Marie witnessed growth of 7.9% in the same period compared to 11.9% in 2014-15, while salt crackers declined 3.3% in 2015-16 compared to a growth rate of 3.2% in 2014-15, according to market research firm Nielsen.

"The cookie segment is growing because most people in India see biscuits as a nutritional supplement," said Arvind Singhal, founder of retail consultancy Technopak. "Apart from having biscuits with tea in the morning, they also use it as a snack at different times during the day. This is the single most important reason why Parle-G glucose biscuits has become the largest biscuit brand in the country."

While Parle-G is the dominant player with over 12% market share in the Rs 25,000-crore domestic biscuit market, Good Day - which falls in the cookie category - is the second largest player with around 9% market share. Mondelez, maker of Cadbury chocolates and Oreo cookies, is betting big on the market that is growing by over 7% year-on-year. It recently launched Bournvita biscuits in the cookie category.

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