Top snack food maker and confectioner Parle Products, which claims to own the world’s largest selling biscuit brand, has its ovens fired up for premium cookie segment with at least five-six launches lined up over the next couple of years, a top official said.
“At present, traction is seen in the premium segment. In the last two-three years we have rolled out more than 15 products in this segment. The response has been very good,” said Shalin Desai of Parle Products, who oversees the branding operations of the company.
“Over the next two years, we will concentrate on consolidation within this premum segment and will also launch five-six premium biscuits,” Desai told IANS in an interview, adding that the company has already started doling out products in this growing segment over the past few years.
Growing into a $1-billion company today since its inception 86 years ago in 1929, Parle Products claims a 40 percent share of the total biscuit market and a 15 percent share of the confectionary market in India. The Parle-G brand, it says, is the world’s largest selling bicsuit.
It has factories in Mumbai, Bangalore, Bahadurgarh in Haryana and Neemrana in Rajasthan. It has 10 manufacturing units of its own and 75 units on contract. In biscuits, it has over 25 brands, more than dozen in sweets and five-six in snacks, among others.
“The trend today is going towards premium biscuits. The consumers are evolving, their lifestyles are changing. Most households have double incomes. They go for holidays often, even abroad, and are exposed to a lot of new products,” Desai added. “So, the demand for choice is natural.”
The company official said mass category biscuit products were the largest contributors to sales and will, perhaps, remain so for a while. But Parle Products would also give considerable focus to premium segment.
The company offers biscuits from Rs.2-Rs.50 per pack and caters to virtually every social strata. Among the new launches: Parle Rusk, Hide and Seek Black Bourbon (two variants), Happy Happy Dual Cream (two variants), Milano Centre Filled Cookies, Simply Good Digestive Cookie and Milano Mini.
But all these are segments where competitors also have a presence. “But we are offering products, which can be differentiated and that is how we will have edge over others,” says Desai. Exports is another contributor, notably to the Gulf, the US, the UK, Australia, Africa and Nepal.