Despite stiff competition from attractively packed imported chocolates, fancy cookies, cakes, and muffins on every Diwali, branded traditional Indian sweets – a market estimated at Rs.49,000 crore ($8 billion) – have not only managed to hold on to their own but have witnessed a steady rise in sales due to an expanding market, rising incomes and, most importantly, the emotional value associated with them, outlet owners say.
Sweets like kaju katli (sweet cake made of cashew nut powder and sugar), patisa (sweet flaky cakes of gram flour), mysore pak (sweet small cakes made from butter, sugar and gram flour), badam halwa (fried flour cooked with sugar syrup and ghee and topped with almonds) and gulab jamun (fried dough balls soaked in sugar syrup) are high on the preference list of Indians this festive season.
The fact that these sweets have a long shelf life is the key point as during Diwali, sweets are often bought in bulk and then distributed among friends and families over a period of several days.
“All types of barfis, especially kaju barfi along with patisa and gulab jamun, are selling in good numbers as they are premium sweets and also have a long shelf life of around 15 days,” Deepta Gupta, executive vice president of sweets and savouries maker Bikanerwala Foods, told IANS.
Gupta acknowledged the rising market share of sweets like cookies, cakes, dougnuts, and the latest rage – macaroons – that are being sold by several upscale bakeries all over the city and have particularly caught the fancy of youngsters who may find the traditional Indian sweets boring.
“But the market is expanding and there is space for everyone. Moreover, the branded sweets market has increased by around 30 percent this Diwali season as compared to last year,” Gupta added.
Bipin Sareen of Mumbai-based Mithaivala.in too agreed that sales were headed north but unlike Bikanervala, which is a renowned brand, he has to walk the extra mile to ensure that the cash registers keep ringing.
“Apart from the traditional branded sweets which remain a favourite all year round, especially during Diwali, we also deliver other sweet items like baklava (sweet pastry of filo filled with chopped nuts) and fruit katli,” Sareen who handles the operation and marketing of the two-year-old web portal, told Media Sources on the phone from Mumbai.
According to Assocham, India’s sweet and snack industry is estimated at about Rs 49,000 crore and has been growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10 percent.
However, growing at a CAGR of about 25 percent, India’s chocolate industry size is currently worth about Rs 5,000 crore and is likely to cross Rs 7,500 crore mark in the next couple of years.
Besides, India’s per-capita chocolate consumption is hovering at about 100 grams and urban centres account for 35 percent of the chocolate consumption in the country.
Cadbury is leading the pack with about 70 percent market share followed by Nestle, Amul, Ferrero Rocher, Toblerone.