Usually, products such as potato chips and instant noodles among other comfort snacks sell quickly during the monsoon season of every year. This year, the situation seems to have changed due to the crisis that gripped over Maggi’s ban. The ban on Maggi noodles in June due to the high lead content in it has resulted in sluggish sales of other brands of pasta and noodles as well.
The time period between June and September is when the southwest monsoon hits the country. It is during this time of the year that the sales of the packaged snacks reach the peak as people are confined indoors and the children have holidays or their schools will reopen so they can have these snacks for their tiffin boxes. However, this monsoon has been difference so far, claim the leading industry executives.
In the consumer goods industry, food is the largest category with annual sales of Rs 1.4 crore and snacks is the second largest with a biscuits sub-segment being the largest one. The slowdown is likely to hit the whole category this year, claim the experts.
The sales of the instant pasta have dropped by almost 10 percent in June from May. The growth rate of the packaged namkeen and other western chips have also reduced to half reaching 8 percent in June compared to 15 percent in May, claim the food companies as well as trade officials.
The sales of these segments at the modern chains including Big Bazaar, Spencer’s Daily and Reliance Retail are also down, suggest the industry executives. This has severely hit the packaged food industry given that the snacks and instant noodle categories were the rapidly growing ones in the country.
After the rising concern on the quality of the products among the consumers, the firms are trying to revive the consumer confidence in the packaged snacks segment. To do so, the firms are involved in brand building and also in promoting their products as safe ones to consume.
Firms such as ITC is engaging the consumers to send in test reports of its instant noodles, setting a helpline, reaching through the social media and allowing factory visits. These are done to restore trade and consumer confidence. On the other hand, the retailers including Spencer’s are coming up with category promotions for healthy snacks such as frozen and diary products and fresh nuts.