Haldiram’s Rules the Indian Taste Buds Like No Other
With revenue of over ₹ 4,000 crore in FY16, the home-bred snacks maker raced past MNCs and regional rivals by expanding reach and developing new quality products
Mumbai: Desi halwai and snacks maker Haldiram’s revenues grew 13% to cross ₹ 4,000 crore in FY16 shrugging increased scrutiny from food regulator amid the Maggi crisis. The Indian snack major is now twice the size of Hindustan Unilever's packaged food division or Nestle Maggi and larger than the India turnover of the two American fast food rivals Domino’s and McDonald’s put together.
The company has three distinct areas of operations with Haldiram Snacks and Ethnic Foods with that clocked ₹ 2,136 crore from the northern region, Nagpur based Haldiram Foods International that caters to western and southern markets with annual sales of ₹ 1,613 crore and a much smaller company, Haldiram Bhujiawala, for the eastern market with revenues of ₹ 298 crore in FY16, according to data from Tofler, a company research platform.
These figures, when combined with other regional snacking firms, conclusively demonstrates one thing — in fast food or munchies, despite the profusion of MNC brands with high cool quotient, good Indian palate prefers local savouries. “We have increased our reach and developed products in-house that ensure quality control. We also understand Indian palate well and that comes handy while launching new products,” says 43 year-old Kamal Agarwal, fourth generation member of the founding family.
The brand, that experts feel, could have more than ₹ 5,000 crore in retail sales, has survived through disputes and break-ups in the original Agarwal family that started with a small shop in Bikaner in 1937. Haldiram’s is the biggest brand of those launched by Agarwals and the second largest Indian food brand after Parle.
While restaurants and casual dining was the beginning, packaged products now make up 80% of revenues. Haldiram’s is by far the market leader in traditional snacks market and bigger than five of its regional rivals — Balaji Wafers, Prataap Snacks, Bikanervala, Bikaji Foods and DFM Foods — combined.
“Food is culture in the country and Indian food should do well. But consumers are experimenting with food and it is under scrutiny. Companies would have to adapt and stay relevant especially for millennials,” said Devendra Chawla, Future Group president that has recently launched traditional aloo bhujia in peri peri, wasabi and schezwan flavours.
The snacks market is still dominated by western snacks such as potato chips and finger sticks controlled primarily by Pepsi Frito Lays and ITC Foods. Even these companies are gradually entering into Haldiram’s turf. For instance, Pepsico’s Kurkure has16 variants of Indian namkeen while Paper Boat will soon enter the category.
While restaurants and casual dining was the beginning, packaged products now make up 80% of co’s revenues