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Of Cookies and Biscuits

I would be discussing the biscuit and cookies part of the food industry and primarily the leaders in India – Britannia Industries Ltd. The Biscuits industry in India is worth around Rs. 3000 crores and 30% of it belongs to the organized sector. It is the largest among all food industries in the country and is expected to grow at about 15-17% in the years to come.

Within the organized sector, Britannia has been the market leader for a long time now. Parle comes a very close second. ITC entered the market with its SUNFEAST brand of biscuits in 2003.  Though, market share of sunfeast is close to 10%, personally I feel sunfeast is quite a threat to Britannia.

While close to 80% of Parle’s share by volume belongs to Parle-G, and considering the fact that the glucose segment is not a very lucrative part of the biscuit segment, definitely cookies are the game changers. Another segment is that of cream biscuits.

As far as the cookies segment is concerned, Britannia with its GOOD DAY brand of cookies has been a major player since a long time. Cookies were considered a premium brand for a long time and GOOD DAY was no different with SKUs Rs 10 for 81g approximately. Good day has had many successful variants like butter, cashew, pista-badam etc. But recently after the entry of Sunfeast, cookies have become quite cheaper. It all started with Sunfeast introducing its SPECIAL brand of cookies. With a SKU of Rs 5-6 for about 50gm. Britannia eventually had to start cookies at lower price points too and as a result it introduced COOKIES– 56gm for Rs 5. Apart from the ‘elaichi’ variant, a new flavor FRUIT DHAMAKA has also been made available. Though it doesn’t taste like any known fruit, the fruit cuts embedded in the biscuit along with the unique taste is really a treat to the taste buds.

The branding strategy is interesting as usually I have always seen Britannia introduce its ‘cheaper’ biscuits under the TIGER brand. TIGER was first introduced as a brand of Glucose biscuits and it replaced the GLUCOSE-D brand of Britannia. As Tiger grew in popularity among lower income groups because of its low price, Britannia introduced cream biscuits too under Tiger brand. Coming back to COOKIES, Parle has also introduced cookies under the name 20-20. Mc Vitie’s also entered the Indian market with cookies (and also digestive biscuits). At the same time, Australian Biscuit company UNIBIC came to India in 2005 and they majorly sell cookies at a premium price – Anywhere between Rs14-15 for about 67gm.

Cream biscuits have also been very popular. Britannia branded its cream biscuits as CREAM TREAT and also introduced Tiger cream biscuits as mentioned above. Britannia’s most premium brand of biscuits, PURE MAGIC which sells in packs of Rs 20 has been quite popular.  JIM JAM has also been very popular. Pure Magic comes in two variants – Chocolate and Vanilla. Recently I was pleasantly surprised to find a Rs 10 SKU of the old vanilla Pure Magic rebranded as Treat-O. Perhaps, the vanilla variant of Pure Magic is not as successful as the other and Britannia saw sense in repricing it. I am not quite sure of the logic behind the move. Sunfeast also is positioned at both ends of the Cream Biscuit segment. It sells cream biscuits at around the same price as Tiger under the SPECIAL brand and at the same time it competes directly with Pure Magic using the brand ‘Dark Fantasy’. It was launched in 2005 and was positioned as an indulgence brand. It was associated with the master chefs of ITC hotels.

Apart from the above segments, the health segment in biscuits is also gaining importance. With people becoming more and more health conscious, it is imperative that people would like to buy biscuits which are low on fat and more on fibre. Britannia with its NutriChoice brand is making the most of its opportunity. Some older brands like Digestive and Arrowroot have been pulled under this brand. Owing to the fact that the health conscious consumers are ready to pay a premium, this brand is a premium brand.

In conclusion, the overall future of the biscuit market is bright. Particularly for Britannia, though the market share has come down of late, with some intelligent advertising and branding strategies, it can surely gain lost ground. And as far as us consumers are concerned, we have more choice, more variants and really interesting flavours. So just sit back and enjoy your cookies.

References

http://business.mapsofindia.com/india-industry/biscuits.html

http://www.marketresearchdata.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=63:biscuit-industry-india-&catid=40:food-and-beverage&Itemid=54

http://www.afaqs.com/news/story.html?sid=29162_Sunfeast+Dark+Fantasy:+A+feast+for+the+senses

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Categories: Marketing
  1. Pratik Prakash
    February 23, 2011 at 2:14 am

    Can you elucidate on whats the exact difference between biscuits and cookies?

  2. February 23, 2011 at 2:20 am

    The modern biscuit, however, is a French invention, and by the 14th century it was possible to buy little fruit-filled wafers on the streets of paris. The name of these comes from a corruption of the Latin bis cotum (baked twice) which became biscuit in English and biscotti in Italian. Traditionally, such biscuits are hard and dry in texture and they’re know (and commonplace) from recipe books going back at least to the Elizabethan era.

    In contrast, cookies are Dutch in origin. The name itself derives from the Dutch word ‘koekje’ (small or round cake) which represents the small pieces of dough that Dutch bakers used to place in their ovens to test the temperature. However, the classic cookie, the ‘cocolate chip cookie’ was only invented in 1937 by Ruth Graves Wakefield (1905-1977), of Whitman, Massachusetts, who ran the Toll House Restaurant. This type of cookie didn’t reach nationwide fame until 1939 when Betty Crocker popularized it in her radio show. Today, however, the chocolate chip cookie is by far the commonest baked and eaten cake in America.

    Reference
    _________
    http://www.articledashboard.com/Article/The-Origins-of-Biscuits-and-Cookies/501346

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