Is there space and scope for gourmet retail in India? What is its value share?


Manan, gourmet retail is a nano-niche in India. Its estimated value is an insult to even attempt.

Gourmet retail is today largely focused on the packaged and bottled formats, as offered by importers of every kind. Add to this a small segment of fresh produce imports such as fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. Add to it foie gras and truffles. Gourmet retail will truly flourish only when made-in-India gourmet offerings achieve quality and scale. By this I mean fresh baked breads, fresh food of every delicate kind, and most certainly seasonings that add appeal to premium foods consumed at high-end eateries and homes alike.

Most gourmet stores have had a rough run thus far, and have had to either close down wholly or change their offerings, and in some face-saving cases, shift from high street locations to more affordable locales.

The potential of this segment in terms of percentage growth is huge, given the small base. However, in terms of real value, it will remain small for the next decade for sure. This segment and its growth are largely related to the activity at the top niche of the pyramid. At the end of the day, it is all about evolving eating habits. It is also about discovering the healthy way to life. It is about rediscovering palate memories from overseas trips as well, and wanting to do it all at home.

The future of this segment is small, but beautiful. In terms of profits.

I hear luxury tractors are making an India entry. What next?


Gopi, I do believe this space for luxury tractor exists, just as it does for the ergonomic battery-driven luxury bullock cart without a bull to pull it.

The luxury tractor market exists as a status symbol equally of the zamindar of yore and of the modern farmer who has arrived. This is especially so in the markets of Punjab, Haryana, small parts of UP and indeed in a large part of the sugar belt of Maharashtra. The “arrived farmer” wants to flaunt it. Today, he does it with his experiments of mechanised hand-pluckers on his farm, just as he might want to do with his plush luxe tractor.

Just as the city type may want to show off his Merc and Bimmer, the farmer in the rural hinterland of India feels closely bonded to the tractor. This is an idea whose time has come.

Baba Ramdev is a big brand success in India with an enterprise value of more than ₹1,500 crore. How?


Ankita, Baba Ramdev and his very many enterprises are immense, reach-oriented successes. I do believe they are such deeply-percolated hits that Baba Ramdev emerges as one of India’s more successful brands in the otherwise less penetrated rural markets as well.

Baba Ramdev is a success due to the very fact that he spends nothing on advertising and marketing. His is a product efficacy-based success. His products and services (as yoga is a service) work. And work rather well. That is the ultimate recipe for success. Second, they are completely low-cost options that are totally inclusive and touch the commonest of common lives. Such brands have a habit of succeeding due to the sheer public goodwill they build.

Sometimes, a complete lack of advertising helps brands attain a cult status due to the fact that they are built by bottom-up market effort, rather than top-down advertising-fuelled effort.

Harish Bijoor is a brand domain expert and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults. Mail your questions to