In India, there will hardly be anybody who does not like Namkeen products. Ethnic namkeen has its own fan following though the usage pattern would be different. Namkeen is more consumed in Northern part of India rather than Southern India though both type of people enjoys it to the core. Namkeen market in India is a highly staggered market with unbranded players dominating the scene. The ethnic namkeen market in India is estimated to be Rs. 3,500 crore and the only player who has a national presence is Haldiram. Haldiram is a very well known and a performing brand in exports as well. There are many national level companies like Parle and MNC’s like Pepsi who are trying to garner a pie of the market. The regional unbranded players are also giving a stiff competition to these national and MNC brands. Off late the branded snacks category has witnessed a growth of 15 to 20 percent and the branded players are trying to capitalise on this with their own market intensive strategies.
Parle entered the Namkeen market in 2008 with its wafers followed by Pepsi which introduced its Lehar brand of wafers. Now the market is really getting really hot with CavinKare entering into the market with its range ofgarden snacks. Each company is trying to adopt a different strategy to get a foothold in the namkeen market otherwise dominated by Haldiram and other unbranded players. Parle is playing the price card and trying to keep the price of its products very low so as to take on the unbranded players and as well as the MNC’s. Snacks market or Namkeen market has always been a price sensitive market with Haldiram’s perceived as a premium product and snacks like Pepsi Lehar also in the higher price range.
Parle as part of its marketing strategy is keeping the price of 100 gm pack as low as Rs. 20 but increasing the grammage of the pack by 25 per cent. By this, Parle is trying to deliver more value proposition and thereby thwart competition. The company is trying to attract customers who by unbranded ethnic namkeen to try for branded namkeen. One of the main challenges that the company is facing is to reach out to retail outlets which are spread across the country. To face this challenge of selling branded snacks, Parle is trying to ride on the company’s existing biscuit network which has a reach of nearly 55 lakh outlets.
With the new players coming into the market and players operating in unbranded space scaling up and moving to the branded space, it remains to be seen if the strategy of Parle to concentrate on price and value proposition is going to give them dividends. How far this strategy will help them grow in the namkeen market is which experts would be eagerly looking at.