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    Will Parle-G be relevant to the next generation?


    It is the most penetrated FMCG brand in the country and in our Most Trusted Brands' survey, Parle-G ranked 7. It has been an integral part of the lives of most Indians, but will it be as relevant to the next generation?

    It is the most penetrated FMCG brand in the country and in our Most Trusted Brands' survey, Parle-G ranked 7. It has been an integral part of the lives of most Indians, but will it be as relevant to the next generation?
    When you own the largest-selling biscuit brand in the world, what do you do next? That's a question that may not quite keep the Chauhans of Parle Products awake at nights, but it sure may have popped up a few times in the boardroom, if not at the dinner table. After all, when a biscuit brand that's close to completing 75 years finds itself in a near-monopoly population at a time when the demographics are skewed hopelessly towards the youth — three fourths of the population is under 35 — you have to wonder: Will today's youth still be chomping on Parle-Gs a couple of decades down the road?

    `Perhaps with tomorrow in mind, Parle Products recently launched an advertising campaign — the first in a decade — to hunt down 'Kal ke Genius.' Created by Ogilvy India and shot by Chrome Pictures, the campaign made waves online overnight — or perhaps even before that. Law & Kenneth which managed the social media campaign for the brand, used hashtag, #BeCurious, to talk about the campaign and it was among the Top 5 trending topics on Twitter worldwide for a couple of hours after launch.

    If Parle has to make a noise in the market, it is also because of the presence of two formidable rivals in the glucose segment — Britannia and ITC. As of June 2012, Nielsen data indicates the former had a share of 8.7% and ITC 8.3%. Parle still rules the roost with a 79.4% share, but with both the competitors armed with deep pockets, the battle is going to rage on for some time to come.

    Along with competition, the glucose segment itself stands the risk of getting crowded out by a basket of newer options, from oat and ragi cookies to digestive and milky biscuits. Agrees Ajay Chauhan, executive director, Parle Products: "Consumers today have acquired a taste for 'variety', which is seen by the success of multiple biscuit variants across price points. As consumer preferences evolve, the market for biscuits as a whole will increase but the relative share of different categories might change," he says.

    Adds Nabunkar Gupta, founder, Nobby Brand Architects: "Glucose has a healthy imagery in consumers' minds and today the health platform has gained more voice than ever. The new ad campaign will immediately draw a larger number of customers into the space as well as refresh the connect with the existing customers."

    So does Chauhan see Parle-G holding on its dominant position in the next decade?

    "Every category needs some innovations on a periodic basis, so does glucose. However, just because people have acquired the taste of fast food like burgers and pizza they have not stopped consuming dalroti. Similarly, glucose biscuits are a part of the Indian staple diet. While other categories emerge, glucose biscuits will always be present," says Chauhan. Gupta for his part says that so well entrenched is Parle-G in consumers' minds that the company may find it difficult to make a mark in other segments.

    According to industry estimates, the biscuit market was worth Rs 15,000 crore till September 2012, with glucose accounting for 30% of this segment. While variants and brands have been launched in the cream and cookies category, the glucose category hasn't seen any recent launches. Parle-G launched Parle-G Gold in May 2012, a premium glucose biscuit which, according to the company, is heavier than Parle-G and has a richer formulation. Britannia Tiger and ITC's Sunfeast Glucose are the two branded competitors against Parle-G, apart from a number of unbranded local players that operate regionally.

    Parle-G's distinction as the largest selling biscuit brand is also because of its strong distribution network that covers over 6 million retail stores in the country. The brand is even available in villages with a population of 500. "A lot of non-biscuit consuming customers start eating Parle-G when they first enter the category," says Pravin Kulkarnii, marketing head, Parle Products. According to a recent report in ET, the glucose category grew lesser than cream biscuits and cookies during the April to September 2012 period. However Mayank Shah, group product manager, Parle Products challenges the numbers. "Neilsen only tracks 25,000 urban, Tier 1 and Class 1 towns retail outlets, whereas Parle-G has a reach even in villages with a population of 500. The numbers reported are not accurate and far from the truth." Shah says that Neilsen doesn't include hotels, canteen store departments, railways or factory canteens, which are also among the many places that Parle-G is available.

    Along with reach, another big reason for Parle-G being a winner is its adoption across the socio-economic strata. "One pack of Parle-G gives 400 gm calories to a person and is equivalent to one meal," says Kulkarnii. The pricing strategy has also taken the price-sensitiveness of these consumers into account. From 1994 to 2008 Parle-G was priced at Rs4 a pack. In 2008, the price was increased marginally to Rs4.50, but as there was an immediate impact on volumes, the company went back to Rs4. In the last three years, the company has reduced the weight of the packs but not changed the price. Today Parle-G is available at Rs 1, Rs 2, Rs 3, Rs 4, Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 20 and Rs 50. The Rs1 to Rs4 packs are available only in Tier 2 & 3 cities and the rural markets.

    Parle-G facts

    If a month's production of Parle-G biscuits are stacked side-by-side, the distance between Earth to Moon of 7.25 lakh kms can be covered.

    400 million Parle-G is produced daily.

    1 billion packs of Parle-G are produced monthly.

    Parle-G biscuits are sold in more than 5 million retail stores.

    4,551 Parle-G biscuits are consumed per second.

    If all Parle-G biscuits consumed annually are put endto-end, they would cover the Earth's circumference 192 times.

    Parle-G sells more than all the biscuit brands sold in China which is the fourth largest biscuit market in the world.

    From mid-90s to mid-2000 the price of Parle-G remained unchanged.
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    43 Comments on this Story

    Deepankar Das2851 days ago
    parle needs to keep a check on ITC'S policies. The way they are marketing and packaging the products, will sure give them a huge market share.
    Jkv Raghu Setty2861 days ago
    Yes if the ad is done to make them healthy and energetic.
    Bakul Bhatt2865 days ago
    Next Generation Mange More.
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