GET­TING INTO HIGH GEAR

The festive sea­son is the time when max­i­mum pur­chase hap­pens in a house­hold and brands and re­tail­ers ex­pe­ri­ence the fastest turnover. Busi­nesses pull out ev­ery trick in the play­book to cash in on this op­por­tu­nity, mak­ing in­roads into the cus­tomer’s heart

Progressive Grocer (India) - - News - By Sanjay Ku­mar

The festive sea­son is around the cor­ner, and gai­ety and aban­don is in the air. If Rakhi and Jan­mash­tami cel­e­bra­tions in the lat­ter half of Au­gust were the per­fect spring­board to the festive months ahead, the Pujo cel­e­bra­tions fol­lowed by Dussehra, Di­wali and even­tu­ally cul­mi­nat­ing with Christ­mas and New Year, will mark the cli­mac­tic points in the sea­son of shop­ping, splurg­ing and joy­ful in­dul­gence. It is the pe­riod when peo­ple are in the mood to spend and lav­ish gifts. They love to go out, ex­plore the mar­ket and look for dif­fer­ent buy­ing op­tions. Nat­u­rally, the festive sea­son brings higher foot­fall in re­tail stores. Con­sumer de­mand is at its high­est dur­ing the sea­son and so is mar­ket sen­ti­ment. In gen­eral, sales vol­ume of all prod­ucts peak dur­ing the festive sea­son.

Over­all, F&G busi­ness zooms, lead by choco­lates, dry fruits, juices, sweets, bis­cuits, sta­ples, oils, spices, nam­keens, etc. The ar­rival of the festive sea­son sparks an un­usual gift­ing fer­vor among con­sumers, mak­ing the pe­riod the per­fect sweet spot for re­tail­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers to rake in the moolah and whip up plenty of dough. A study done by in­dus­try body As­socham re­vealed that mid­dle and lower mid­dle in­come fam­i­lies in In­dia spent an av­er­age of 29 per cent of their salary dur­ing the festive sea­son. How­ever, if brands of­fer more in­cen­tives by way of dis­counts or free­bies dur­ing the festive sea­son, cus­tomers would spend more, ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, which was con­ducted in Delhi, Mum­bai, Kolkata, Chen­nai, Ahmed­abad,

We are all geared up for the fes­ti­val sea­son and hope to do over 500% more busi­ness than in the reg­u­lar months. Post GST, con­sumers were a bit un­cer­tain at the start of the third quar­ter but now sales mo­men­tum has picked up. — Shaishav Mit­tal Founder & CEO, Lovely Bake Stu­dio

Hy­der­abad, Pune, Chandigarh and Dehradun. “Over 78 per cent of the re­spon­dents said that if they plan to spend more, dis­counts will act as in­cen­tives for them,” said the study.

Gift­ing fer­vor and busi­ness ex­pec­ta­tions

Not sur­pris­ing that cor­po­rate houses and busi­nesses use fes­ti­vals to come up with new prod­ucts and ideas, re­vamp their col­lec­tion and pre­sen­ta­tion style and in­tro­duce new SKUS and packs to ap­peal to more num­bers of con­sumers. Yo­gesh Bel­lani, CEO, Field­fresh Foods, which op­er­ates the Del Monte brand, says, “An in­ter­est­ing dif­fer­en­tial in the clut­tered festive mar­ket would be a prod­uct that ap­peals to the more youth­ful con­sumer, has both mod­ern and cul­tural rel­e­vance, is aes­thetic, adopts a con­tem­po­rary ap­proach to its use of tra­di­tional festive cues, cap­tures the fun and spirit of the oc­ca­sion, and re­flects the up­beat per­son­al­ity of the brand.”

Brands and man­u­fac­tur­ers hope to bag sig­nif­i­cantly higher vol­umes dur­ing the festive sea­son and roll their in­ven­to­ries. “We are all geared up for the up­com­ing fes­ti­val sea­son and hope to do over 500 per cent more busi­ness than in the reg­u­lar months. Post GST, con­sumers were a bit un­cer­tain, es­pe­cially at the start of the third quar­ter, but now sales mo­men­tum has picked up,” says Shaishav Mit­tal, Founder & CEO, Lovely Bake Stu­dio, a premier Euro­pean in­spired bak­ery, which of­fers its guests 100 per cent egg-less del­i­ca­cies, a first-of–its–kind con­cept in north In­dia. Bol­ster­ing Lovely Bake Stu­dio’s pres­ence in the food seg­ment is its sib­ling, Lovely Sweets, a lead­ing man­u­fac­turer and re­tailer of tra­di­tional In­dian sweets in north In­dia. “Our prod­uct range across both brands per­forms ex­tremely well in all for­mats. Cook­ies sell all the year round and sales of sweets range picks up dur­ing the fes­ti­val sea­son,” he adds.

“We are all charged up and look for­ward to pos­i­tive growth from the forth­com­ing festive sea­son dur­ing which we will be in­tro­duc­ing new gift packs ranges. We ex­pect 200-300 per cent growth in the festive sea­son as com­pared to the nor­mal sea­son and hope to achieve 25 per cent of our to­tal turnover from the festive sea­son,” says Pra­teek Ath­wani, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Lal Sweets Pvt. Ltd, one of the finest and pre­mium brands of In­dian tra­di­tional lad­doos.

Busi­nesses are all the more in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the up­com­ing festive sea­son be­cause the past few months had been quite volatile. “The past 8-9 months have been dif­fi­cult for the in­dus­try on ac­count of de­mon­e­ti­za­tion and GST im­ple­men­ta­tion. How­ever, we be­lieve that in the long run th­ese mea­sures will be good for in­dus­try. Things have al­ready started turn­ing since last month and the trade is now in re­cov­ery mode. We are look­ing for­ward to the festive sea­son with lots of en­thu­si­asm in terms of boost­ing sales and catch­ing up on the ear­lier lag. We ex­pect the forth­com­ing festive sea­son to be very good and promising,” says Sanjay Jain, Di­rec­tor, Du­gar Over­seas Pvt. Ltd, which is amongst In­dia’s lead­ing im­port, man­u­fac­tur­ing, dis­tri­bu­tion and mar­ket­ing houses, man­ag­ing a prod­ucts port­fo­lio across cat­e­gories such as choco­lates, cream wafers, can­dies, cook­ies, juices and more with a bevy of glob­ally loved FMCG brands from Europe, South Amer­ica and Asia.

The buoy­ant festive sen­ti­ment is shared by Gun­jan Jain, MD, VKC Nuts, a leader in nuts & dried fruits that sells its prod­ucts un­der the brand name Nu­traj. “As a land of mul­ti­tude ge­ogra­phies, In­dia is a true melt­ing pot of di­verse, myr­iad eth­nic­ity and cul­tures, re­sult­ing in a number of fes­ti­vals cel­e­brated with much fer­vor and fan­fare. We are now at the cusp of a ma­jor festive sea­son and the ex­cite­ment is pal­pa­ble amongst di­verse sec­tors, each ex­pect­ing a surge in sales. The set­tling of the nig­gling is­sues re­lated to GST a month ahead of the sea­son au­gurs well for the busi­ness. The sec­tors ex­pected to do par­tic­u­larly well are the ones that of­fer prod­ucts ideal for Di­wali gift­ing – FMCG, tex­tiles and house­hold goods in

Per­cent­age-wise, we should be grow­ing by 20% as com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year. Since the pre­vi­ous months’ sales record has not been too good, we are hop­ing to see a tremen­dous rise in sales this festive sea­son. — Sanjay Jain Di­rec­tor, Du­gar Over­seas Pvt. Ltd

We are ex­pect­ing a 100% in­crease in over­all busi­ness from the festive sea­son, with our new line of gift­ing op­tions in place. Also, we are now ven­tur­ing into the con­sumer and cor­po­rate gifts arena. — Rishav Kanoi Founder, Tea Trove

gen­eral and dry fruits and sweets gift packs in par­tic­u­lar.”

Ka­mal Agar­wal, MD, Sri Shan­dar Snacks Pvt. Ltd., which op­er­ates the Tastilo brand of snacks, says: “We are ex­pect­ing ex­po­nen­tial growth in sales this festive sea­son with rapid growth in our pre­mium cat­e­gory seg­ment of snacks.” Even new play­ers and en­trants are set­ting great store by in souped up sales and prof­its in the com­ing months. “We have great ex­pec­ta­tions of sales this festive sea­son as it will be our first festive sea­son since we en­tered the Delhi mar­ket. We are ex­pect­ing a 100 per cent in­crease in over­all busi­ness from the festive sea­son, with our new line of gift­ing op­tions in place. Also, we are now ven­tur­ing into the con­sumer and cor­po­rate gifts arena, in­no­vat­ing with an eco-friendly cork to make the best use of it as our tea gift pack­ag­ing ma­te­rial,” says Rishav Kanoi, Founder, Tea Trove, a Kolkatabased tea com­pany en­gaged in the cul­ti­va­tion, pro­cess­ing, trad­ing and pack­ing of tea.

An­other new player, Supa Foods Pvt. Ltd, which op­er­ates the sweets brand Misht, is sim­i­larly gung-ho on busi­ness prospects in the months ahead. “We are very ex­cited about our first fes­ti­val sea­son. Con­sid­er­ing that we have al­ready re­ceived great re­sponse through ad­vance or­ders, we are very con­fi­dent of achiev­ing our goals. We are aware that the con­sumer to­day has high ex­pec­ta­tions and at the same time is look­ing for­ward to in­no­va­tion. With our Misht prod­ucts, we en­deavor to ex­ceed ex­pec­ta­tions on all pa­ram­e­ters,” says Pawan Ku­mar, Di­rec­tor, who ex­pects brand Misht to pull in bumper sales dur­ing the com­ing months and is count­ing on at least qua­dru­pling its cur­rent sales.

On their part, re­tail­ers too are nurs­ing high hopes from the en­su­ing festive sea­son in terms of bet­ter sales trac­tion, con­sumer con­nect, brand­ing, etc. “We usu­ally see a spike of 20-25 per cent in sales dur­ing the festive pe­riod com­pared to reg­u­lar months. Over­all, F&G busi­ness zooms up, lead by choco­lates, dry fruits, juices, sweets, bis­cuits, sta­ples, oils, spices, nam­keens, etc.,” re­veals Ku­naal Ku­mar, Owner, Mod­ern Bazaar su­per­stores in Del­hincr. Ac­cord­ing to Su­nil Jin­dal, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, SRS Ltd., a chain of con­ve­nience stores in Delhi-ncr, “The fes­ti­val sea­son brings a great deal of cheer for both con­sumers and re­tail­ers. With a slew of fes­ti­vals ahead, we ex­pect great foot­falls and sales trac­tion at our stores. As the festive sea­son is a pe­riod for spread­ing joy and hap­pi­ness, the pur­chas­ing power of con­sumers is at its peak be­cause there is a lot of gift­ing to be done. We ex­pect to see a sales hike of 10-20 per­cent dur­ing this pe­riod.”

In fact, as Jin­dal point out, gift­ing has be­come a char­ac­ter­is­tic and in­trin­sic fea­ture of the festive sea­son. Both re­tail­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers aver that gifts have come to oc­cupy an im­por­tant part in our lives and gift­ing builds hu­man re­la­tion­ships. “In the festive sea­son, gifts oc­cupy an im­por­tant part as they help to ce­ment ties and build bonds. In this fast-paced life, we oc­ca­sion­ally get time to meet and greet our friends, rel­a­tives or busi­ness as­so­ciates and gifts are a beau­ti­ful way to keep up and nur­ture our re­la­tion­ships. Festive sea­son, through the medium of gift­ing, helps in nour­ish­ing our con­nec­tions and this is a theme that plays across all prod­uct cat­e­gories.

In the food cat­e­gory, peo­ple like to shop for val­ue­of­fer­ing items that have unique flavours and prod­uct com­bi­na­tions,” says Vikram Agar­wal, Di­rec­tor, Green­dot Health Foods Ltd, which op­er­ates the Cor­ni­tos brand of snacks. Agrees Rafathul­lah Mo­hammed, CEO, Dukes In­dia, mak­ers of a wide range of cook­ies, choco­lates and wafers. “Given the In­dian cul­ture and tra­di­tions, gift­ing holds a very im­por­tant place for each and ev­ery oc­ca­sion. Whether it’s Rak­sha­band­han, Di­wali or New Year, we love to cel­e­brate it with some­thing sweet and spread the joy of fes­tiv­i­ties with our near and dear ones.”

Re­tail an­a­lysts es­ti­mate that the gift­ing in­dus­try in In­dia has reg­is­tered strong growth over the past decade thanks to the ris­ing in­come lev­els and as­pi­ra­tions. Also, aid­ing this growth are such fac­tors as (on the de­mand side) the widen­ing of the cus­tomer base, and (on the sup­ply side) the of­fer­ing of in­no­va­tive prod­ucts at at­trac­tive prices. Cur­rently, the gift­ing mar­ket’s size is es­ti­mated at close to USD 50 bil­lion, with many in­dus­try play­ers re­port­ing an­nual growth in the range of 20-40 per cent dur­ing the festive months. Ac­cord­ing to Su­nil Jin­dal of

We are aware that the con­sumer to­day has high ex­pec­ta­tions and, at the same time, is look­ing for­ward to in­no­va­tion. With our Misht prod­ucts, we en­deavor to ex­ceed ex­pec­ta­tions on all pa­ram­e­ters. — Pawan Ku­mar Di­rec­tor, Supa Foods Pvt. Ltd

An in­ter­est­ing dif­fer­en­tia­tor in the clut­tered festive mar­ket would be a prod­uct that ap­peals to the more youth­ful con­sumer, has both mod­ern and cul­tural rel­e­vance, is aes­thetic and adopts a con­tem­po­rary ap­proach. — Yo­gesh Bel­lani CEO, Field­fresh Foods

SRS Ltd, “Food has al­ways been a pop­u­lar gift­ing cat­e­gory ir­re­spec­tive of any sea­son. Sales of food items has al­ways been very prof­itable dur­ing the fes­ti­val sea­son. The credit for higher sales dur­ing the pe­riod is due to the ex­cit­ing range of prod­ucts along­side at­trac­tive of­fers by re­tail­ers. At SRS, the sales con­tri­bu­tion from the food seg­ment is about 70 per cent whereas it is 30 per cent from non-foods.”

New launches, in­no­va­tions, gift packs...

With gift­ing be­ing an in­dis­pens­able part of the festive sea­son, the cat­e­gory has tra­di­tion­ally been dom­i­nated by sweets, dried fruits and choco­lates. How­ever, in re­cent years, the gift­ing seg­ment has grown and ex­panded con­sid­er­ably and now in­cludes myr­iad prod­uct cat­e­gories, even within the food seg­ment. No won­der that mar­kets sud­denly come alive with an ar­ray of ‘gifta­bles’ dur­ing the festive months. Though the sea­son con­tin­ues to be strongly dom­i­nated by sweets, choco­lates, dry fruits and snacks, sales of non-tra­di­tional prod­ucts like tor­tilla packs, ex­otic teas, cof­fee and fruits, jams, honey, saf­fron, marsh­mal­lows, crack­ers, sauces, wines, etc, have picked up sharply in re­cent years.

Re­tail­ers feel that gift­ing has moved away from be­ing an oc­ca­sional ac­tiv­ity lim­ited to events like Di­wali, birth­days, wed­dings, etc., to be­com­ing al­most an ev­ery­day rou­tine. Now, peo­ple are find­ing rea­sons to gift ev­ery­day and to ev­ery­one around them. So to­day you have gifts for oc­ca­sions like a daily class test per­formed well, for achiev­ing weight-re­duc­tion tar­gets, for help­ing at home or work, etc. “The scope for gift­ing has in­creased hugely. This has led to new cat­e­gories of gifts, which are be­ing added on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. Also, the prices of gifts has been com­ing down, mak­ing them more af­ford­able to larger swathes of the pop­u­la­tion and ex­pand­ing the mar­ket for gifts,” says Ku­mar of Mod­ern Bazaar.

Not sur­pris­ing that re­tail­ers, man­u­fac­tur­ers and brands are fo­cus­ing on com­ing out with at­trac­tive gift packs and new prod­uct launches. For in­stance, Na­ture’s Bas­ket of­fers food and gourmet gift ham­pers, which are oc­ca­sion-spe­cific and cus­tom­iz­a­ble. Food­hall, a Fu­ture Group com­pany, has sim­i­lar prod­uct of­fer­ings. Haldiram’s, a tra­di­tional mithai store, re­al­iz­ing the op­por­tu­nity in other food gift cat­e­gories,

now of­fers in­no­va­tive prod­ucts and ham­pers in choco­late, gourmet, and bak­ery space. FMCG com­pa­nies like Pep­sico, Parle, Coca-cola of­fer in­no­va­tive gift prod­ucts dur­ing festive oc­ca­sions, apart from their reg­u­lar prod­uct of­fer­ings. New prod­uct in­no­va­tion, cre­at­ing con­sumer mind­set about new prod­ucts, en­hanc­ing the reach through both e-tail and re­tail, de­sign­ing va­ri­ety op­tions, and bundling prod­ucts based on con­sumer pref­er­ence are the fo­cus ar­eas for play­ers wish­ing to tap new con­sumer seg­ments dur­ing the long festive sea­son.

“This fes­ti­val sea­son, we will launch two new fla­vors – Mango Pickle & Cool Wasabi – be­sides also launch­ing two at­trac­tive gift packs for the cor­po­rate sec­tor as well as for mod­ern re­tail mar­ket. We hope th­ese new launches will give our brand a great mileage and of­fer an op­por­tu­nity to our con­sumers to rel­ish healthy snack­ing with theri fam­ily and friends,” says Tastilo’s Ka­mal Agar­wal. Green­dot’s Cor­ni­tos brand, which hopes to gar­ner a 25 per cent in­crease in sales dur­ing the festive sea­son on the back of its newly launched Pop-n-crunch nuts and seeds range has also re­cently launched a cou­ple of ex­cit­ing new gift packs in dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories rang­ing from na­chos, seeds, nuts, dips, etc. “The new prod­ucts launched as gift packs in­clude 30 gm new packs of na­cho crisps in nine fla­vors in­side 9 Star Dip O’ Treat gift packs, roasted pre­mium cashews in crack pep­per fla­vor, and roasted pump­kin seeds in in­di­vid­ual and combo gift pack named Nuts De­light. We have also in­tro­duced na­cho crisps in 60 gm and 150 gm packs along with salsa 4 in 1 tray in Na­cho Fi­esta Gift Pack. Na­cho Fi­esta Gift Pack and 9 Star Dip O’ Treat gift packs are go­ing to be our star per­form­ers as they com­bine na­cho crisps in ex­otic flavours along with de­lec­ta­ble dips – cheese dip and salsa dip,” points out Cor­ni­tos’ Vikram Agar­wal.

Du­gar Over­seas, which be­lieves in ex­pand­ing its range by launch­ing new prod­ucts reg­u­larly, has launched Choco­dates – a prod­uct from Dubai’s No­tions Group – in four flavours (milk, dark, co­conut and as­sorted). Du­gar Over­seas’ Sanjay Jain says that Choco­dates is a per­fect gift­ing so­lu­tion as it has all the three com­po­nents that make for a good gift – date, nut (al­mond) and choco­late in each serv­ing. “We have also launched two prod­ucts from Ger­many. One is Kat­jes, pre­mium jel­lies and a 100 per cent veg­e­tar­ian prod­uct in five dif­fer­ent shapes. The sec­ond Ger­man prod­uct is Im­pact Mints, which are sugar-free mints in seven dif­fer­ent flavours. All the prod­ucts in our port­fo­lio have a loyal cus­tomer base, which keeps grow­ing. In Sap­phire nuts (al­mond, fruit & nut, hazel­nut, etc), Sap­phire cook­ies (but­ter cook­ies, choco­late & but­ter scotch flavour) and Choco­dates, we have a great va­ri­ety of prod­ucts and all of th­ese come in packs of 90 gm to 350 gm. Hence, re­tail and cor­po­rate cus­tomers can se­lect any of th­ese prod­ucts based on their re­quire­ment. Also, both Sap­phire and Choco­dates come in af­ford­able, medium range and pre­mium pack­ag­ing in or­der to cater to all seg­ments of cus­tomers.”

Over the past few years, Du­gar Over­seas has been grow­ing well and it ex­pect to con­tinue the mo­men­tum this year as well. “Per­cent­age-wise, we should be grow­ing by 20 per cent as com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year. As men­tioned ear­lier, since pre­vi­ous months’ sales record has not been too good, we are hop­ing to see a tremen­dous rise in sales in the com­ing sea­son,” says Jain. The com­pany does not be­lieve in run-of-the-mill schemes like ‘Buy One Get One Free’ as it feels that its prices are very rea­son­able and of­fer value for con­sumers. “We want to give some­thing big to our con­sumers. There­fore, this sea­son we are run­ning a Golden Ticket scheme wherein ev­ery tin pack of our prod­ucts will have a peel-off in­side and the con­sumer might be lucky enough to find the Golden Ticket. Th­ese tick­ets will be re­deemable gift vouch­ers of Tan­ishq rang­ing from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 20,000,” re­veals Jain.

Like­wise, Lal Sweets will be in­tro­duc­ing sev­eral new prod­ucts, es­pe­cially for the festive sea­son. Its new launches in­clude Lal Su­gar­less Nutty Bites and

We usu­ally see a spike of 20-25% in sales dur­ing the festive pe­riod com­pared to reg­u­lar months. Over­all, F&G busi­ness zooms up, lead by choco­lates, dry fruits, juices, sweets, bis­cuits, sta­ples, oils, spices, nam­keens, etc. — Ku­naal Ku­mar Owner, Mod­ern Bazaar

Festive sea­son, through the medium of gift­ing, helps in nour­ish­ing our con­nec­tions and this is a theme that plays across all prod­uct cat­e­gories. In the food cat­e­gory, peo­ple like to shop for val­ue­of­fer­ing items. — Su­nil Jin­dal MD, SRS Lim­ited

a range of gift boxes such as Lal Royal Treat, Lal Warm Wishes, Lal Happy Treat, among oth­ers. “We are ex­pect­ing our Lal Happy Treat gift box to be the star per­former due to its at­trac­tive pack­ag­ing and af­ford­able price point,” says Pra­teek Ath­wani, adding that the com­pany will also be of­fer­ing bumper pro­mo­tions such as ‘Buy 1 Get 1 Free’ on be­san lad­doo, dry fruits, halwa bites, shahi so­han pa­pdi, and its other prod­ucts sport­ing a price range be­tween Rs. 75 and Rs. 1,000. “Our af­ford­able range will have prod­ucts such as Lal Happy Treat, Lal Shahi Treat and Lal Warm Wishes. The pre­mium and lux­ury range will com­prise Lal Kaju Katli and Lal Su­gar­less Nutty Bites.”

Sweets brand Misht too will launch two new vari­ants and in­tro­duce new pack­ag­ing in­clud­ing a spe­cial pack­ag­ing for gift­ing pur­pose. “While we have kaju katli, milk cake, be­san barfi and dodha barfi in the mar­ket, we will launch Mathura peda and badam barfi as well. All th­ese prod­ucts are pack­aged in our unique sin­gle-piece packs that we call ‘Pods’, which have a high shelf life and are very con­ve­nient to store and con­sume. We are count­ing on our kaju katli and badam barfi to be big win­ners dur­ing the festive sales,” says Pawan Ku­mar.

“Launch­ing new in­no­va­tive prod­ucts is a bet­ter strat­egy than giv­ing of­fers and pro­mo­tions to push your ex­ist­ing prod­ucts range. Not only do you get word of mouth pub­lic­ity, even your cus­tomers will al­ways be on the look­out for what’s new that you are com­ing up with, which they can try or gift to their dear ones,” feels Tea Trove’s Rishav Kanoi, who will be in­tro­duc­ing Blue Tea in the In­dian mar­ket made from 100 per cent dried but­ter­fly pea flow­ers. “We ex­pect our new launch Blue Tea and Ma­haraja Kash­miri Kahwa to be star per­form­ers in tea cat­e­gory and our Cork Tea Gift pack­ages to be a big hit with con­sumers and a best­seller in cor­po­rate gift­ing arena.”

Tea Trove, which has so far been a one-stop des­ti­na­tion for buy­ing all types of tea on­line, is now ven­tur­ing into the con­sumer and cor­po­rate gifts arena. It has come out with an eco-friendly cork, an in­no­va­tion that serves as a su­pe­rior tea gift pack­ag­ing ma­te­rial. “Cork lends its unique tex­tures, colors, and de­signs to our tea pack­ag­ing, adding ele­gance to it,” he says. Pawan Ku­mar of brand Misht is also a great be­liever in the ben­e­fits ac­cru­ing from new launches dur­ing fes­ti­val months.”i be­lieve there are many ad­van­tages of launch­ing new prod­ucts dur­ing the festive sea­son. As con­sumer spend is at its peak, peo­ple are look­ing for all kinds of gift­ing op­tions. So along with eye­balls, new prod­ucts are able to get lots of tri­als.” Ac­cord­ing to Sanjay Jain of Du­gar Over­seas, “Launch­ing a new prod­uct dur­ing the festive sea­son guar­an­tees au­to­matic place­ment as the mood of re­tail chan­nel part­ners is up­beat and they are will­ing to take the risk of try­ing out new prod­ucts.”

Sales driv­ers

Con­sumer gift­ing in food space is a very big mar­ket and grow­ing at a very healthy rate. There­fore, in spite of com­pe­ti­tion, brands with good po­si­tion­ing and dif­fer­en­tia­tors are grow­ing quite well. While most brands con­tinue to fo­cus on qual­ity and pack­ag­ing and on new pro­mo­tions to cre­ate ex­cite­ment with the trade and the con­sumers, they are also fo­cus­ing on de­vel­op­ing value of­fer­ings and prod­uct lines with the af­ford­abil­ity mind­set in or­der to drive higher sales. Bring­ing in smaller packs at lower price points is a good way to gain vol­umes and be able to reach out to the masses.

“All our prod­ucts are very eco­nom­i­cally priced, start­ing from Rs. 100 and go­ing up to Rs. 600. This is mainly done keep­ing in mind the var­i­ous needs of con­sumers and their gift­ing pref­er­ences. Our prod­ucts are also more price-point driven and we are now pro­vid­ing unique ‘bas­kets’ to cor­po­rate clients wherein they can pick and choose the de­sired prod­ucts to cre­ate a cus­tom­ized combo. This is go­ing to be a very in­no­va­tive con­cept in ad­di­tion to the or­ga­nized re­tail chains that we are al­ready tar­get­ing,” points out Dukes’ Rafathul­lah Mo­hammed whose brand en­joys a huge mar­ket share in the wafer seg­ment and has an ex­ten­sive prod­uct port­fo­lio across cook­ies and choco­lates.

All the prod­ucts in our port­fo­lio have a loyal cus­tomer base, which keeps grow­ing. How­ever, we ex­pect that this sea­son our brand Sap­phire and Choco­dates will be star per­form­ers. — Vikram Agar­wal Di­rec­tor, Green­dot Health Foods Pvt. Ltd.

We ex­pect 200-300% growth in the festive sea­son as com­pared to the nor­mal sea­son and hope to achieve 25% of our to­tal turnover from the festive sea­son. — Pra­teek Ath­wani MD, Lal Sweets Pvt. Ltd.

Like ev­ery year, this time too Dukes has come up with a wide range of prod­ucts to cater to the huge de­mand of sweets and con­fec­tionery dur­ing fes­ti­vals. As the brand pre­pares for its third con­sec­u­tive year in the gift­ing seg­ment, it has eight dif­fer­ent SKUS of choco­late and con­fec­tionery to of­fer to con­sumers. “Al­most all of our SKUS are brand new. From combi pack of Waffy, var­i­ous size packs of Truf­fel, pre­mium boxes of Dan­ish But­ter Cook­ies and Gourmet – ev­ery­thing is very fresh and unique! So, not just one but all our prod­ucts will be best­sellers in their re­spec­tive cat­e­gories,” avers Mo­hammed. Some of Dukes SKUS like Truf­fel, Waffy, Gourmet and Dan­ish But­ter Cook­ies en­joy the rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing best-in-class prod­ucts that are ideal for gift­ing and fam­ily get-to­geth­ers.

“Our spe­cial festive pack­ages will not just be avail­able in dif­fer­ent sizes that suits ev­ery­one’s needs but will also be avail­able in re­tail out­lets from the be­gin­ning to the end of the sea­son. Spe­cial at­ten­tion is also be­ing paid to ac­cu­mu­la­tive stock­ing such that ow­ing to last minute rush right be­fore the fes­ti­vals, we can re­plen­ish the prod­ucts be­fore stocks run out. In all, we are pre­pared well in ad­vance to meet the in­creas­ing de­mand of con­sumers dur­ing the fes­tiv­i­ties and also to dou­ble our sales in this pe­riod as com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year. I am con­fi­dent that with our pric­ing, dis­tri­bu­tion and stock­ing strat­egy in place, we are go­ing to notch up a truly out­stand­ing sales fig­ure at the end of this pe­riod.”

Higher de­mand and sales of sweets, choco­lates, cook­ies and con­fec­tionery have al­ways marked the festive spirit. Says Ku­naal Ku­mar of Mod­ern Bazaar, “We do see the de­mand for choco­lates, cook­ies and snacks grow higher in the festive sea­son with im­proved avail­abil­ity. We are op­ti­mistic that with grow­ing aware­ness and con­scious­ness for health­ier al­ter­na­tives and eat­ing op­tions, the en­tire gamut of health prod­ucts in­clud­ing gluten-free grains, honey, roasted and baked snacks, etc, to grow ex­po­nen­tially this sea­son.”

In re­cent years, though a shift away from tra­di­tional sweets, cook­ies and con­fec­tionery has been no­ticed, sales of the lat­ter re­main strong and con­tinue to dom­i­nate the mar­ket. With the trend of gift­ing also catch­ing up in smaller towns and cities and in the ru­ral ar­eas as well, baked con­fec­tionery has emerged as pre­ferred gift­ing cat­e­gory, mainly due to the price po­si­tion­ing. As a mass con­sump­tion item, cook­ies and sweets en­joy huge ac­cept­abil­ity amongst peo­ple from di­verse back­ground.” Tin gift ham­pers of cook­ies, as­sorted baklava and cook­ies boxes, gra­nola dry fruit mix, baked sweets made out of rich dry fruit, as­sorted packs of nam­keen bhu­jia, canned ja­mun & soan pa­pri and desi ghee channa barfi are some prod­ucts that we have lined up for the fes­ti­val sea­son. We feel tin boxes per­form very well dur­ing fes­ti­val sales as they are an ideal gift and peo­ple can re­use the tin boxes for their house­hold chores. Our range of as­sorted baklava comes in gift packs of 6 pieces, 12 pieces and 15 pieces and the price range of our prod­ucts is be­tween Rs. 195 and Rs. 500,” says Lovely Bake’s Shaishav Mit­tal.

While Lovely’s In­dian Sweets will be avail­able in the af­ford­able and pre­mium cat­e­gory, its cook­ies gift ham­pers will be tar­geted at pre­mium and lux­ury cus­tomers. “We have re­cently de­signed gift packs of gra­nola dry fruit mix and in­tro­duced ‘Buy 2 and Get 1 Free’ for some prod­ucts and ‘Buy 2 and Get 10 per cent Off’ as con­sumer of­fers for the fes­ti­val sea­son. We have also cus­tom de­signed end caps/ dis­play unit for the up­com­ing fes­ti­val sea­son and will be show­cas­ing our com­plete range in those end caps.” Lovely Bake ex­pects its cook­ies tin gift ham­pers and pre­mium baklava sweets to have max­i­mum sales trac­tion dur­ing the festive sea­son and will be un­der­tak­ing ex­ten­sive pro­mo­tion, wet sam­pling and ag­gres­sive in-house brand­ing via dan­glers, posters, boards in all MT chains.

While the fes­ti­val sea­son comes alive with an ar­ray of gifta­bles, peo­ple are also be­com­ing bored with tra­di­tional nam­keens and snacks and are look­ing for some­thing more ex­cit­ing and in­no­va­tive. “Cus­tomers are mov­ing to­wards gift items that are per­son­al­ized, classy, have a good shelf life, and which come in at­trac­tive pack­ag­ing,” says Su­nil Jin­dal of SRS. Gun­jan Jain of VKC Nuts echoes a sim­i­lar sen­ti­ment. “Though there is a huge de­mand for tra­di­tional nuts

All our prod­ucts are very eco­nom­i­cally priced, start­ing from Rs.100 and go­ing up to Rs.600. This is mainly done keep­ing in mind the var­i­ous needs of con­sumers and their gift­ing pref­er­ences. — Rafathul­lah Mo­hammed CEO, Dukes In­dia

The set­tling of nig­gling is­sues re­lated to GST a month ahead of the sea­son au­gurs well for the busi­ness. The sec­tors ex­pected to do par­tic­u­larly well are the ones that of­fer prod­ucts ideal for Di­wali gift­ing. — Gun­jan Jain MD, VKC Nuts

and dry fruits in the tier-2 and tier-3 cities, newage cus­tomers from the ur­ban sec­tor are look­ing at ex­pe­ri­enc­ing new prod­ucts and are ex­plor­ing new va­ri­eties on of­fer. While we are cater­ing to one seg­ment of our au­di­ence with the reg­u­lar prod­ucts, we have also in­tro­duced a vast col­lec­tion of ex­otics like ap­ple rings, morels, pines, ki­wis and more for the other seg­ment to ex­plore and in­dulge in.”

To meet the grow­ing con­sumer ex­pec­ta­tions, brands like Cor­ni­tos are in­tro­duc­ing dif­fer­en­tia­tors in the form of at­trac­tive pack­ag­ing and com­bi­na­tions of ex­cit­ing flavours and prod­ucts that of­fer de­light­ful munch­ing mo­ments in tune with the ef­fer­ves­cent mood of the festive sea­son. “Our com­pany’s strat­egy be­hind launch­ing prod­ucts dur­ing the festive sea­son is to pro­vide a plat­form for its con­sumers who are ready to pick new gift of­fer­ings that are unique and hold a value propo­si­tion. This time we have launched prod­ucts cater­ing to the in­ter­ests of all kinds of cus­tomers. Cor­ni­tos gift packs have been de­signed to tar­get all group of peo­ple whether young or old and all those who pre­fer healthy snack­ing and taste dif­fer­en­tia­tors. We have worked to make our gift packs unique in pack­ag­ing so that they have bet­ter vis­i­bil­ity on the shelf. Cor­ni­tos gift packs also pro­vide dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions of ex­otic flavours and prod­ucts in a sin­gle pack. We are tar­get­ing ev­ery­one for our gift packs dur­ing the festive months by pro­vid­ing mul­ti­ple price band choice to con­sumers for our gift packs,” says Vikram Agar­wal. The com­pany has po­si­tioned Cor­ni­tos’ of­fer­ings as a com­plete gift­ing so­lu­tion un­der healthy snack­ing um­brella.

Brands also use at­trac­tive pack­ag­ing to at­tract con­sumers’ eye­balls. Pack­ag­ing de­sign and aes­thet­ics play a big role in the choices con­sumers make when it comes to festive gift­ing and that is why brands

Pack­ag­ing de­sign and aes­thet­ics play a big role in the choices con­sumers make when it comes to festive gift­ing and that is why brands lay great em­pha­sis on eye-catch­ing pack de­sign.

lay great em­pha­sis on eye-catch­ing pack de­sign. Most de­ci­sions about food gift­ing items take place in stores and pack­ag­ing plays a key role in th­ese fast, split-sec­ond de­ci­sions. In­creas­ingly, com­pa­nies are in­no­vat­ing with their pack­ag­ing to un­der­line their pre­mium na­ture, ad­her­ence to food pro­tec­tion and safety stan­dards, dy­namism, the spirit of the oc­ca­sion, etc. Given the im­por­tance of pack­ag­ing in pro­mot­ing sales, com­pa­nies hire de­sign teams and artists to cre­ate the right con­cept. De­sign, colors,and im­agery play a vi­tal role in the de­sign process. Pep­sico, for in­stance, was suc­cess­ful in pro­ject­ing pack­aged juices as a gift­ing item, ow­ing largely to its at­trac­tive pack­ag­ing.

Sim­i­larly, top bev­er­age play­ers Parle Agro, Coca Cola, Fresca Juices, Paper­boat are bank­ing on their newer of­fer­ings and re­freshed pack­ag­ing to stir up mar­ket buzz dur­ing the festive sea­son. Fresca, which sells a range of 10 ex­cit­ing vari­ants such as litchi, mango, aam panna, tangy shikanji, lime water, mix fruit, ap­ple, guava, pome­gran­ate and pineap­ple, has de­vel­oped at­trac­tive festive pack vari­ants of tetra pack and PET. It plans to launch four dif­fer­ent range of gift packs in both tetra and PET vari­ants with a new fresh look, af­ford­able prices in the Rs. 100 to Rs. 225 range along with the prom­ise of as­sured qual­ity. “We have made our festive packs very at­trac­tive and also con­ve­nient to carry; more­over the packs give a feel­ing of value for money. We have also done cus­tomiza­tion as to the number of pieces in a gift pack re­quired by cor­po­rate and are also cus­tomiz­ing spe­cific fla­vors. Be­sides, we are com­ing up with Jal­jeera drink for the festive sea­son,” says Akhil Gupta, MD, Fresca Juices, adding that the com­pany ex­pect 40 per cent of its over­all busi­ness to come from the festive sea­son sales ahead. “All food prod­ucts have their own share in gift­ing but the share of juices has been in­creas­ing in the past 2-3 years. As far as brands are con­cerned, at­trac­tive pack­ag­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion mat­ters most in driv­ing sales.

‘Healthy gift­ing’ as a cat­e­gory has gained no­tice­able trac­tion among to­day’s con­sumers. More and more brands and new cat­e­gories like olive oils, fruits, nam­keens, dry fruits, etc, have joined the healthy snack­ing and gift­ing band­wagon over the years. Gift-ready packs, high on health, hy­giene and va­ri­ety are suc­cess­fully en­gag­ing the con­sumers, and help­ing F&B com­pa­nies gain a big­ger mar­ket share dur­ing the festive sea­son. Says Ritesh Ba­jaj, Di­rec­tor, K.B.B. Nuts Pvt. Ltd, which op­er­ates Tulsi and Gour­mia brands, “Health prod­ucts are cur­rently in big de­mand so we are pos­i­tive that dry fruits will sell big time this year too like ev­ery year. Our ex­pec­ta­tions are high and we hope to achieve dou­ble of the av­er­age monthly sales on the back of of our pre­mium gift packs com­pris­ing roasted nuts and ex­otic fruits.”

The com­pany, which is among the largest nuts and dry fruits busi­ness group in In­dia and among the top im­porters with over four decades of ex­per­tise in the nuts and dry fruits seg­ment, of­fers a wide range of raw and fla­vored prod­ucts for con­sumers, in­sti­tu­tions, Horeca and other sales chan­nels. “We pro­mote healthy nuts and nu­tri­tious dried fruits like prunes, cran­ber­ries, etc. Our brands in the gourmet seg­ment are Tulsi, Gour­mia and Magic Nuts with Gour­mia Trail Mixes be­ing the lat­est ad­di­tion. Tulsi is our flag­ship brand with al­monds as our lead prod­uct.” With a wide and at­trac­tive as­sort­ment of nuts and dry fruits at mul­ti­ple price points be­tween Rs. 445 and Rs. 995, K.B.B’S new prod­uct of­fer­ings this sea­son will in­clude Trail Mixes and Blue­berry. “We be­lieve that the pri­mary sales driv­ers dur­ing the festive sea­son are prod­uct qual­ity and right pric­ing. We plan to com­mu­ni­cate our gift box op­tions through strate­gic tie-ups with all ma­jor re­tail chains across In­dia and by way of radio and print ad cam­paigns, says Ba­jaj.

Ac­cord­ing to Jain of VKC Nuts, “Our re­tail out­lets will launch ‘Nut-lounge Spe­cial gift boxes’, which will be a value ad­di­tion on our tra­di­tional prod­ucts. With newer flavours and coat­ings, th­ese gift boxes will de­light the con­nois­seurs on all the four pa­ram­e­ters – health, taste, value and aes­thet­ics. At Nu­traj, we strongly be­lieve that va­ri­ety is the key to suc­cess of dry fruits in cor­po­rate gift­ing. We are ex­pect­ing our cus­tomers to look be­yond our tra­di­tional prod­ucts like nuts and dry fruits and ex­pe­ri­ence the mod­ern and more ex­otic col­lec­tion

This fes­ti­val sea­son, we will launch two new fla­vors – Mango Pickle & Cool Wasabi – be­sides also launch­ing two at­trac­tive gift packs for the cor­po­rate sec­tor as well as for mod­ern re­tail mar­ket. — Ka­mal Agar­wal MD, Sri Shan­dar Snacks Pvt. Ltd.

like dried pineap­ples, ki­wis, ap­ples, hazel­nuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, etc., which are a trea­suretrove of nutri­tion and good health.”

This festive sea­son VKC Nuts hopes to tot up 25 per cent of its over­all an­nual sales with the big­gest con­tri­bu­tion com­ing from its ‘dry fruit gift boxes’. “Our gift box seg­ment make up about 95 per cent of our sales dur­ing the festive sea­son. For our reg­u­lar range of nuts & dried fruits, sales in the festive sea­son ac­counts for al­most 25 per cent of our an­nual sales. This sea­son, we are bring­ing in a far wider range of at­trac­tive gift boxes to suit ev­ery bud­get. They will show­case our in­no­va­tion in pro­cesses and prod­ucts, and the value ad­di­tion we bring in the form of new fla­vored range of nuts, dried fruits and berries. We are con­stantly look­ing for ways to en­hance the snack­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for our val­ued cus­tomers and, ac­cord­ingly, we are of­fer­ing a ‘value pack’ of hand­picked, su­per se­lec­tion of whole wal­nuts, along with a ‘unique de­signer wal­nut cracker’, which makes crack­ing th­ese wal­nuts and con­sum­ing them fresh a de­li­ciously won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence,” re­veals Jain.

Brand­ing, pro­mo­tion and on­line

In keep­ing with the spirit of the festive sea­son and the up­beat busi­ness sen­ti­ment, brands, man­u­fac­tur­ers and re­tail­ers will be busy pro­mot­ing prod­ucts through print ads, radio, leaflets, in store mar­ket­ing ma­te­rial, sam­pling and ex­hi­bi­tions. Also, one can ex­pect to see lots of in-store pro­mo­tions to at­tract con­sumers. “This year, we plan to ac­tively en­gage with so­cial me­dia and we have hired an agency to take care of our back-end. We also have plans to take ad­verts in mag­a­zines. As I men­tioned ear­lier, we are run­ning a Golden Ticket scheme, which is a ma­jor in­vest­ment to­wards brand build­ing,” re­veals Sanjay Jain of Du­gar Over­seas.

Rafathul­lah Mo­hammed of Dukes In­dia has a slightly dif­fer­ent take. “As the festive pe­riod is for a lim­ited du­ra­tion, one can­not re­ally plan elab­o­rate ad­ver­tis­ing schemes. So your tar­get has to be very spe­cific and to the point. We are aim­ing at hav­ing a strong com­mu­ni­ca­tion with our con­sumers through se­lect mass me­dia plat­forms. Also, as buy­ing is a very impulsive de­ci­sion in the FMCG cat­e­gory, it’s very rare that you pre-de­cide on a cer­tain brand be­fore en­ter­ing a su­per­mar­ket. So, we are look­ing at ad­di­tional paid vis­i­bil­ity within large re­tail out­lets. We hire space in a large for­mat re­tail store and use it to dis­play our prod­ucts in an at­trac­tive fash­ion. We be­lieve this ap­proach en­sures your prod­ucts re­ceive con­sumers’ at­ten­tion and even re­tail­ers take much in­ter­est in pro­mot­ing the same to con­sumers.” As one the top FMCG com­pa­nies to have a strong pres­ence in mod­ern trade, which con­trib­utes 50 per cent of its to­tal sales, Dukes is not averse to mak­ing bold in­vest­ments for strength­en­ing and ex­pand­ing it out­reach fur­ther and to more re­tail chan­nels. “Over the years, we’ve gained hugely from or­ga­nized re­tail pres­ence and go­ing for­ward we are con­fi­dent of be­ing on the right track. Our va­ri­ety in cook­ies, wafers, di­ges­tive bis­cuits and cream bis­cuits al­lows us to make an im­pact on ev­ery cat­e­gory – from eco­nom­i­cal to niche.”

Other FMCG brands too have en­sured strate­gic reach of their prod­ucts this festive sea­son with ex­ten­sive tie-ups with re­tail­ers. “We are the only nuts & dried fruit com­pany in In­dia present in all the trade chan­nels and we strad­dle im­ports, ex­ports, pro­cess­ing, dis­tri­bu­tion, and pri­vate la­bel pack­ing. We have our own branded pack­ing for pan-in­dia sales through mod­ern and tra­di­tional re­tail­ers. And now, we also have our own re­tail­ing ven­ture with our newly opened ‘Con­cept Nuts & Dried Fruits Stores’. Th­ese self-owned stores of­fer a very unique re­tail­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to cus­tomers by mak­ing avail­able the widest range of nuts, dried fruits, seeds and berries,” says Gun­jan Jain of VKC Nuts. “Mod­ern trade is def­i­nitely the fu­ture of re­tail in­dus­try. More and more peo­ple like to go to su­per­mar­kets and browse. This helps new brands like our­selves get no­ticed and hence tried. I be­lieve there is no other trade for­mat that al­lows so much brows­ing and search­ing for new prod­ucts. 75 per cent of our re­tail sales come through mod­ern trade,” avers Misht’s Pawan Ku­mar.

We have also done cus­tomiza­tion as to the number of pieces in a gift pack re­quired by cor­po­rate and are also cus­tomiz­ing spe­cific fla­vors. Be­sides, we are com­ing up with Jal­jeera drink for the festive sea­son. — Akhil Gupta MD, Fresca Juices

Ac­cord­ing to Sanjay Jain of Du­gar Over­seas, “We have tied up with the en­tire or­ga­nized chan­nel for the forth­com­ing sea­son. We are also plan­ning to pro­vide ex­clu­sive in-shop pro­mo­tions dur­ing Di­wali with the top 40 re­tail­ers in Delhi/ NCR to pro­mote our Sap­phire gift­ing range.” “We will go for dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and for ad­ver­tis­ing we have cho­sen so­cial me­dia as the medium to reach out to our con­sumers and would-be con­sumers. All the up­dates will be there on our page on Face­book and In­sta­gram about our ex­cit­ing festive range of­fers,” says Akhil Gupta of Fresca Juices.

The festive sea­son also brings with it a host of op­por­tu­ni­ties for on­line re­tail­ing. With on­line shop­ping on the rise, there is an in­creas­ing de­mand for prod­ucts like im­ported wines, cheeses, choco­lates, dry fruits and gourmet prod­ucts, etc. The de­mand is fu­eled by in­creased con­sump­tion dur­ing the festive pe­riod and paucity of time. Tak­ing the cue, re­tail­ers have be­gun to ag­gres­sively fo­cus on on­line as an­other new chan­nel of dis­tri­bu­tion whereas large e-com­merce com­pa­nies like Ama­zon and Flip­kart have ded­i­cated spe­cific sec­tions to gift­ing.

At the same time, most play­ers in the off­line space like Na­ture’s Bas­ket, Food­hall, etc, are widen­ing their on­line pres­ence to cap­ture the on­line gift­ing space. New, ded­i­cated gift­ing por­tals have been launched to cap­ture this space like giftease. com, giveter.com, in­di­angift­sportal.com, and wish­picker. com, to name a few. The of­fer­ings on th­ese web­sites in­clude bak­ery prod­ucts, as­sorted choco­lates, con­fec­tionery, dry fruits, sweets, and other gourmet prod­ucts, apart from other cat­e­gories like flow­ers, jew­elry, watches, etc. With ris­ing time paucity and ever-longer dis­tances sep­a­rat­ing fam­i­lies, the role of e-com­merce will only deepen in the fu­ture, thanks to the ris­ing pen­e­tra­tion of In­ter­net ser­vice providers.

The trends high­lighted above are ex­pected to be­come mag­ni­fied in the years to come, and can re­sult in rad­i­cal changes in the gift­ing space in terms of prod­uct of­fer­ings, chan­nels, pack­ag­ing, events and oc­ca­sions, cus­tomer needs, and brand in­no­va­tions. It is an ex­cit­ing time to be in the space and en­joy along­side cus­tomers who are also re­joic­ing in their happy oc­ca­sions, while also in­no­vat­ing with them. How­ever, though on­line play­ers have come to play a vi­tal role in to­day’s world for in­di­vid­ual gift pack de­liv­er­ies, but when it comes to the cor­po­rate seg­ment, com­pa­nies still wish to take from the sup­plier di­rectly and not through on­line chan­nels. That is be­cause they can get huge dis­counts and cus­tomiza­tion op­tions from off­line play­ers. But at the same time, the trend to­wards buy­ing gift items on­line is catch­ing fast. For big re­tail­ers like Hyper­city, the off­line ver­sus on­line con­tri­bu­tion is about 80:20 cur­rently for its gift­ing SKUS. But while it is true that the tra­di­tional way of or­gan­ised de­liv­ery is time tak­ing, the gift­ing sea­son is more of an or­ga­nized shop­ping com­pared to on­line shop­ping. Ac­cord­ing to Gupta of Fresca Juices, “Sixty-five per cent of our sales will be ac­counted for by tra­di­tional re­tail and 35 per cent through the on­line chan­nel.

But all said and done, it is worth­while to note that only those com­pa­nies that pay at­ten­tion to their sup­ply chain can reap ex­po­nen­tial ben­e­fits dur­ing the fes­tiv­ity pe­riod. The adage ‘sup­ply cre­ates its own de­mand’ can come true in the festive sea­son with com­pa­nies whose prod­ucts are readily avail­able and thus scor­ing higher in terms of cus­tomer pref­er­ence. The cus­tomer is has­sled by var­i­ous com­mit­ments dur­ing the festive sea­son and the de­ci­sion to buy a prod­uct is gen­er­ally a quick one. FMCG com­pa­nies will need to re­in­force their sup­ply chains to avoid de­lay in sup­plies and to readily oc­cupy shelf space. In this con­text, de­mand plan­ning, in­ven­tory man­age­ment, sup­ply chain re­spon­sive­ness, man­u­fac­tur­ing agility and re­li­a­bil­ity, and lo­gis­tics are some of the en­ablers on which the suc­cess or fail­ure of a com­pany will de­pend, es­pe­cially dur­ing the fes­ti­val sea­son. With so much at stake and so much to look for­ward to dur­ing the months ahead, the festive sea­son this year holds lots of prom­ise in stores for all – pro­duc­ers, con­sumers and re­tail­ers.

Health prod­ucts are cur­rently in big de­mand so we are pos­i­tive that dry fruits will sell big time this year too like ev­ery year. Our ex­pec­ta­tions are high and we hope to achieve dou­ble of the av­er­age monthly sales. — Ritesh Ba­jaj Di­rec­tor, K.B.B. Nuts Pvt. Ltd.

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