Economy

Packaged food sales witness uptick as in-home consumption gains momentum during the second pandemic wave

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on April 13, 2021

Categories such as staples, salted snacks, frozen products, breakfast cereals have witnessed an uptrend in sales in recent days

With the second wave of the pandemic hitting the country, packaged food companies have witnessed an uptick in demand for their products at retail stores as well as e-commerce channels as in-home consumption has regained momentum. Categories such as staples, salted snacks, frozen products, breakfast cereals, ready-to-eat products and biscuits among others have witnessed an uptrend in sales in recent days.

Arvind Mediratta, MD & CEO at METRO Cash & Carry India, said that the trend of home consumption continues and in the last fortnight itself, the company has witnessed a 3 per cent rise in the overall processed food segment.

“We have seen uptick in demand in categories like breakfast cereals which has gone up by 36 per cent; cold sauces by 44 per cent and salted snacks by 20 per cent. The deep frozen category has been growing more than 50 per cent; the frozen ready food is growing at 53 per cent; frozen veg snacks is growing at 47 per cent; non-veg ready to eat snacks at 43 percent; frozen dessert & ice cream at 109 per cent and categories like frozen pizzas, samosa, chapati and parathas amongst others have been growing at 3x in the past two weeks,” Mediratta said.

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The retail chain said it’s better equipped with stock availability this year. “However, restrictions and curtailed working hours are likely to impact customer footfalls and connectivity of stocks from manufacturers to distributors,” Mediratta added.

Pantry-stocking

Experts said some bit of pantry-stocking was also visible in some cities which are more severely impacted. Mayank Shah, Senior Category Head, Parle Products said, “ In the last 7-10 days, sales at retail points has gone up significantly across cities, especially in Maharashtra and other affected regions. This is due to some amount of pantry-stocking as consumers do not want to step out frequently owing to the rising cases.”

Packaged food companies are also witnessing an uptick in sales on the e-commerce channel. Ashwani Arora, MD & CEO, LT Foods, said that the firm is seeing strong traction for its products on e-commerce channels due to rising penetration.

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According to data sourced from retail intelligence platform Bizom, which works closely with kirana stores to track sales, there has been a 13.2 per cent spike in sales of FMCG products in the last week of March compared to the monthly average sales.

Akshay D’Souza, Chief Marketing Officer at Bizom, said, “There has been particularly strong levels of stocking in Home Care & Personal care segments. At the same time, due to the early and hotter summer across most parts of India, we are seeing that stocking levels of beverages too have gone up. Also, with the number of COVID cases going up in this wave, we may start seeing stronger stocking across staples during April.”

Companies said they have been bolstering production capacities in the past one year. Navin Tewari, CEO, Capital Foods, said the company has added four new factories in the last year alone besides strengthening its distribution network. “We are well prepared to address any sudden surge in demand during the second wave of Covid.”

Published on April 13, 2021

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