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Premium biscuits in India

India’s biscuit and cookie industry was valued at INR 145 billion (US $2.41bn) in financial year 2014, of which Britannia and Parle, account for 61 per cent of the market share, according to a ValueNotes report entitled Biscuits and Cookies Industry in India: 2015-2019.

The industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14 per cent, to reach INR 279 billion (USD $4.65bn) by 2019. Manufacturers are now aggressively entering the premium segment of the market.

India is considered to be the third largest producer of biscuits in the world, after the US and China. While the country is the largest biscuit consuming nation, per capita consumption is low at 2.1kg – compared to Ireland, which is the highest at 21.76kg. The market for biscuits and cookies in India has come a long way accounting for 72 per cent of the sales in the bakery industry. Increasing consumption of packaged and convenience food, the availability of a variety of biscuits and an increase in disposable incomes have provided a major boost to the industry.

Until recently, biscuits and cookies were considered to be a product of mass consumption. However, with changing tastes and preferences, and increasing affluence, this no longer seems to be the case. Increasing indulgence, health concerns and familiarity with luxurious taste, which has developed among Indian consumers has led Indian manufacturers to experiment with a variety of biscuits and cookies. This has also led to higher growth in the premium segment compared to the economical and mid segments of the industry.

According to Tejaswee Shrestha, senior research analyst at ValueNotes, “In the last few years, the majority of the new product launches in the industry have been in the premium segment. High margins, the proliferation of modern supermarket chains and increasing affluence amongst consumers have encouraged manufacturers to introduce different kinds of premium biscuits and cookies.”

The glucose segment, one of the most economical segments of the industry, is expected to decline and account for only 15 per cent of the industry by FY 2019, compared to 25 per cent in 2014. On the other hand, the premium segment – like cream, health and sweet biscuits and cookies – is seen to have a better growth potential. Manufacturers are now offering their premium products in smaller packs, making them affordable to all strata of society.

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