Economy

Packaged food companies bet big on festival season

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on September 22, 2021

Companies are gearing-up with special festival packs for gifting   -  Getty Images

Expect to garner higher sales than last year

As mobility restrictions ease, the packaged food and beverage industry is eyeing a stronger festive season compared to last year. Industry players are also hoping that the festive season will bring in some semblance of full normalcy especially in terms of demand recovery in urban regions.

Kalpesh R Parmar, Country General Manager, Mars Wrigley India said, “With gradual unlocking, a decline in Covid cases and systematic vaccination drives, the FMCG industry is witnessing a demand pick-up over the last couple of quarters. This bodes well for the festive season, as consumers are looking forward to celebrate with their loved ones. We expect a higher demand for our brands compared to last year across our diverse portfolio. We have been listening to our consumers very closely since the pandemic and are customising our offerings as relevant.”

Sustainable demand

At a media roundtable on Monday, Nestle India, CMD Suresh Narayanan said that there is a strong expectation that this Diwali will be definitely much better than the last one. “But, I think we will have to wait a few more quarters to really be sure that this is sustainable demand that is here to stay and this is not some last vestiges of pent-up demand,” he added.The company said it will be introducing new launches in the confectionery, coffee and prepared dishes segments during the festive season.

Besides new launches, companies are also gearing-up with launch of special festival packs for gifting. For products such as salty snacks, chocolates, dry fruits and sweets, the four months of festive season typically contributes about 40-50 per cent of the annual sales. The festive season, however, also comes amidst rising commodity pressures and concerns around a third wave.

Krishnarao Buddha, Senior Category Head, Parle Products, said, “Last year’s festival season was a bit mellowed due to Covid restrictions. So, we are quite positive about the upcoming festival season as we are already seeing a good trend in September. Demand for gifting will largely be driven by urban markets. We are expecting to clock a growth of upwards of 12 per cent during the festival season.” He added that the company has taken price hikes in response to higher raw materials costs and the company is closely monitoring the situation.

Higher sales expected

Vikram Agarwal, Managing Director, Cornitos said the company expects to see higher sales than last year as consumers are now stepping out to buy products. “This year we are expecting at least 15- 20 per cent growth over the last festive season. We are launching a new range of baked snacks that would promote healthy snacking and are also bringing innovative festive packs. We have also introduced e-gift cards exclusively on the Cornitos’ e-commerce site for gifting,” he added.

Companies like Cornitos will also leverage on digital platforms for promotions and discount offers.

Dipy S Sachdeva, CEO, Weikfield Foods added, “While the worry around the third wave remains, we remain cautiously optimistic. The start of the festive season which was Ganpati has been good for us, and we look forward to continuation of the consumption momentum till the rest of the festive season, including Christmas.”

Published on September 21, 2021

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