April 8, 2019
It is quite an accomplishment as Bikaneri Namkeens have sold savoury snacks worth $1 billion in 2018, cornering over a quarter of India’s overall packaged snacks market and more than half the desi namkeen segment. These are brands owned by three Agarwal families, all from Bikaner,
As per Nielsen data Haldiram, Bikaji and Bikanervala had combined sales of Rs. 7,042 crore in 2018. In fact, these three added nearly Rs. 1,500 crore of incremental sales just last year thanks to the increasing consumer preference for packaged namkeen over western snacks such as potato chips.
The Agarwal community from the western state of Rajasthan have outpace companies such as PepsiCo and ITC as bhujia business is they have been doing it for 80 years. With the entire family involved, there is a higher sense of brand ownership, which no company professional can match.
Haldiram outpaced PepsiCo as India’s top snacks maker two years ago and sold products worth Rs. 5,532 crore in 2018. It has three geographic entities — Haldiram manufacturing in the north, Haldiram Foods in the west and south, and Haldiram Bhujiawala in the east.
Bikaji Foods belongs to members of the same family and was started by Shiv Ratan Agarwal, grandson of Haldiram’s founder Gangabhisan Agarwal, in 1987.
Traditional snacks now account for more than half the market with both multinationals and home-grown companies pushing namkeen into the hinterland with attractive packaging and pricing. In the past few years, branded namkeen varieties such as dal, chivra, bhujia and nuts have been increasing their contribution within the overall snacks market worth Rs. 27,500 crore. Experts feel brands from Bikanervala have been cashing in on this changing taste with a first mover advantage.
Consumers shifted to traditional snacks, the options were mostly restricted to either smaller local brands in every state or larger national brands owned by Agarwal’s and now Gujarat is the next Bikaner in the snacking segment. For instance, two Gujarat-based companies — Balaji and Gopal Snacks — sold products worth Rs. 3,300 crore last year.