It’s a potato chip. It’s a cracker. No, it’s a potato biscuit. A bright red pack with the brand name Potata in a bold cursive font has taken India by storm and there is a lot of chatter about it over social media. Bangladeshi firm Pran Foods’ Potata is the new internet sensation in India.
But away from the glare of the internet, Indian FMCG major, ITC has quietly launched “Sunfeast All Rounder” – a ‘chatpata masala’ flavored ‘thin potato biscuits’ that directly challenges the neighboring nation’s most popular offering in recent times - after the hilsa, of course. ITC has wasted no time to wade into the battle of the potato-biscuits using its distribution muscle. It has launched Sunfeast All Rounder across kiranas, modern trade stores and e-commerce in the four southern states, West Bengal and in North East, at ₹10 and ₹20 price points.
Ali Harris Shere, COO, Biscuits and Cakes, ITC Ltd, says the product is expected to be “another game changer” for the company. ”Sunfeast All Rounder is positioned as a versatile product, with the convenience of a biscuit & oomph of the favourite fried snack with the idea to attract demand from consumers of both biscuits and snacks. It is an attempt to positively disrupt this segment,” he told BusinessLine in an emailed response.
Other Indian biscuit majors, however, are in a wait-and-watch mode. “We are monitoring consumption and seeing whether it will dip once the novelty fades or continue,” said one Indian biscuit manufacturer, while another admitted that it has the makings of a blockbuster product.
A subcontinent innovation
The cracker category where the potato biscuit falls -a flat, dry, baked food made of flour, generally with docking holes — is an over ₹6,000 crore segment in India. But, Pran’s ‘Potata’ –and its challenger — ITC’s Sunfeast All Rounder, have innovated this category by using potato in its base which creates a unique texture and distinctly different taste. Sunfeast’s All Rounder additionally has masala sprinkled on top.
Interestingly, in India, Pran’s Potata was initially available in the eastern and north eastern regions, and became a pandemic period hit product in the region. However, with listings on Amazon and availability through Dunzo, the product has now found takers elsewhere in the country too. Other products from Pran Foods – juices, rusk, potato chips - are also available in India.