Britannia: The Crunch Of Biscuits In India

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 9320 , Published on 23 April 2012

This industry mainly consists of 2 product lines:

  1. Ready to eat products
  2. Ready to cook products

Though Britannia has huge presence in the first category of products, it is yet to experiment in the ready to cook product category.

Biscuit Industry:

The biscuit industry in India is divided into:

The organized and unorganized sector in the proportion of 65% : 35% ratio.



Indian Biscuit Manufacturers’ Association (IBMA) estimate biscuit industry to grow in the range of 15% to 15%in ensuing five years based on the last five year’s growth.

The biscuits segment (by value) has grown from 29,281,961 to 36,041,252 – Growth at: 23% Bread, Bread toast and rusk (by value) 3,468,737 to 4,080,726 – Growth at : 17.645%, Cake (by value) 1,193,097 to 1,936,793 – Growth at: 62%, Overall: 34,266,411 to 42,459,805 – Growth at: 23.91%.


Rural-Urban penetration growth of Biscuit

1. Urban Market:  75% to 85%
2. Rural Market:   50% to 65%

Pattern of Biscuit Consumption (On Zonal basis) in the country are as below

Northern Zone  - 26%

Western Zone  - 24%

Southern Zone - 23%

East Zone        - 27%

Main Categories of Biscuits are broadly as under:

  1. Glucose
  2. Marie
  3. Sweet
  4. Flavoured cream & Milk
  5. Salted

Popular Brands of Biscuits in the country are: Britannia, Parle, Priyagold, Anmol, Sunfeast, Biskfarm, Dukes, Cremica,  Priya, Veeramani, Bonn, Bhagwati, Raja, Sobisco, Madhabi, Nezone, Ankit, Nalanda, etc.

Some Big Players

Target Segment: 13 – 19 years

The segment can further be seen as a combination of 2 different age groups:

  1. 13 – 17 years (School years)
  2. 17 – 19 years (Early college years)

Eating Habits in Indian Context:

1. Breakfast:

  • If part of family values: Paraantha’s with butter/cheese, Toast, Noodles, Cereals flakes, Milk, Juice.
  • Skipping the breakfast or grabbing on the go snacks: Biscuits, cake with milk/juice.

2. Lunch/Dinner:

  • Indian Cuisine (Regional)
  • Sandwiches/burgers/soft drinks/noodles

3. Dessert:

  • Traditional Sweets
  • Chocolate
  • Cakes
  • Ice-Cream

Changing Trends:

  • Youth believe in ‘fad’ and tend to follow brands which are premier. Eg: Oreo
  • Britannia’s competitors are better placed in terms of brand extension and diversification therefore it needs to pay more attention to product innovation.
  • Adding Indian flavours to their product line, something like a Dhokla flavoured cake could be introduced for test marketing
  • Since the biscuit consumption across India (different regions) is fairly proportionate, there is no need to increase marketing activity in one part over the other and a national advertisement campaign (promoted in different languages in different regions) should always be worked upon.
  • Britannia should continue with its “Eat Healthy Think Better” campaign (Britannia saw the writing on the wall. Its "SwasthKhao Tan Man Jagao" re-position directly addressed this new trend by promising the new generation a healthy and nutritious alternative)
  • With the penetration less in rural sector and more and more companies shifting to promoting their products in the rural sector, even Britannia should step up and promote the brand as a whole starting with Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. Currently they do hold the leading position in the metros, but the picture can be made more lucid with uniform expansion all across.
  • The latest offerings from Britannia stable(Treato) is still in its growth phase and needs to be capitalized upon.

Proposed plan to increase connect with the youth:

In the ‘13 – 17’ segment:

  • Product line extension by introducing:
    1. Chips/potato wafers targeted at the youth. (Parle platform)
    2. Readymade pizzas/sandwiches (Amul Platform)
    3. Premium offerings
    4. Ice-cream market
  • All school and college goers would prefer to buy their lunch therefore increased shelf presence in their cafeterias’ is a must.
  • This is the growing age and therefore it would be beneficial if Britannia can focus more on to promote brands which focus on nutrients and health. (Like Horlicks launched a biscuit recently promising “with the power of calcium” and Maggie re-branding noodles as “Health bhi taste Bhi
  • The pocket of high school goer is not much deep but the curiosity to try out premium offerings is high, for which Britannia should launch majority of its product line in variety of sizes and varying price range to suit all kind of consumers.
  • A must hit with consumers with all age groups is ice-cream, since Britannia is already in the milk business, so to venture out in ice-cream segment can turn out to be beneficial as well. Moreover the biscuit and the ice-cream range can be used to complement each other and a chain of ice-cream parlours (Kwality Walls) can be and should be thought about.
  • The CSR initiatives of Britannia by tying up with Naandi Foundation and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition needs to be worked upon more dearly. Britannia has provided specially developed iron fortified Tiger biscuit to 1.5 million children in Andhra Pradesh government’s mid-day meal program.
  • To connect with the youth it is very important for Britannia to offer its product line in smaller packets (if required) and very affordable prices.

In the ‘17 – 19’ segment:

  • Britannia Milk bars in college/university campuses (Nestle platform) which will sell Britannia Milk shakes/biscuits/sandwiches(Britannia bread + butter/cheese) to enhance the customer experience with Britannia as a brand.
  • Tie up with joints like Café Coffee day/Mocha/Barista to sell Milk Shakes like Treato Milk Shake(On lines of Oreo Shakes available at Mochas presently)
  • Even automatic vending machines catering to the masses with popular Britannia products (Cakes for which the sales are growing at a fast pace)
  • This is the age where youngsters are more focused upon their looks, if girls wish to flaunt their curves or size zeroes, the guys wish to flex some muscles as well and therefor use of other low fat cereals in biscuits, toast, cakes and other products can change the perception of calorie conscious youth.
  • Britannia can think of launching a frozen food line (frozen Pizzas and other stuff – The Amul way) for majority of college goers who happen to be hostellers and are not too fond of the food that is served to them.
  • Right now in Indian market noodles means Maggie (From Nestle). Many attempts have been made to dislocate Maggie from its position in the segment. Britannia can dare to share the position with its own brand in the noodle market if not dislocate Maggie completely. This idea can go for both segments “13-17” and “17-19”. Even a 5% share in noodles market can re-brand Britannia in youth and will complete its product portfolio as well. (Currently ITC is working on this)

BRANDING (Brand Management):

1. Create Brand Recognition

Instead of just advertising on Bats of cricket stars, Britannia should think of getting a single person as their ambassador, someone with whom the youth identify with(Considering that Rahul Dravid is slowly retiring from all forms of International Cricket). It could be a cricket star like the ever green Sachin Tendulkar, but yet again cricket is a risky affair, or someone who will always be in the news for the right or the wrong reasons – like Ranbeer Kapoor from bollywood.

2. Brand Knowledge

  1. There should be campaigns in school, in class 6 and 7 (that is when an individual starts forming his/her own perception about brands and available consumer goods).
  2. The campaigns could be tied up with Inter school Competitions or something that creates and spreads awareness. For example: National Health Mela in Delhi, which is an annual event and invokes participation from all major schools in Delhi. The event is a national level event and is done to spread awareness about health issues amongst the youngsters from a delicate age when perceptions, beliefs and attitude are still developing. Example : Horlics have organized many events under “Whiz Kid” in many schools. Headmistress “Sanskaar Vallery School” Bhopal,  gave away   certificates for Science Poster Making Competition and Horlics Whiz Kid.

3. Brand Preference

Britannia enjoys almost a 40% share in the biscuit market and also its cake sales for Fiscal 2010 – 11 have grown at 62% (by value)from 1,193,097 to 1,936,793 which shows that the brand does enjoy a deep preference amongst the masses but needs to work on promoting it in a better way in each target segment.

Engineering the brand:

1. Packaging and Advertising – The packaging of the products also needs to be brought up to International standards if you are eyeing competition with brands like Oreo, which sell a major chunk on the basis of its distinct look.

2. PR – Corporate Communication:

In the recent past Britannia has won many accolades and awards, of which few to mention are as below:

  1. In the FMCG category, Britannia tops Businessworld’s list of the Most Respected Companies of 2011.
  2. Britannia voted the #1 Most Trusted Food Brand at the Brand Equity Awards 2010.

The masses need to be made aware of these, so they can be included on the packets.

3. Personnel Selling and Promotion – To the youth via activities at schools and colleges

This article has been authored by Mehtab Singh Ahluwalia and Vikash Kumar from IMI Delhi.

Image: Stuart Miles /


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