In India since independence, Parle-G is to biscuits what Xerox is to photocopy. For almost 80 years Parle-g has been a tea staple for many people in the country. Even today, many people wake up to a cup of tea and Parle-G every morning. And the recent lockdown in the country has again proven it to be the favorite biscuits of India. At times when the country is fighting COVID-19 pandemic, Parle products have recorded the highest sales ever of Parle-g biscuits for the past 8 decades. The sales of the most fairly priced biscuits went up massively in the country as people stocked up on easy and simple essential food items.
Parle-G since pre-independence era
Parle-G was launched in the year 1939 by Parle Products which started as a confectionery making factory in the Ville Parle suburb of Mumbai in 1929. In the year 1947, when India became independent, Parle Products launched an ad campaign that showcased its Glucose brand of biscuits as an Indian/Swadeshi alternative to British-branded Jacob’s biscuits in that era. The company considered it’s the responsibility to manufacture and sell the most affordable biscuits to Indians with good nutrition value.
Inspired by Swadeshi movement
The Chauhan family that owns the Parle Products company was deeply rooted in the Swadeshi movement at that time. Initially into the textile business, after the launch of the Swadeshi movement, they were inspired to go Indian. The main reason for this is because most of the silks for their textile business came from Europe. In order to support the Indian’s, they decided to step into the confectionery making business. Later they focused on manufacturing and selling biscuits to the Indian masses at very cheap rates as biscuits in that era were confined only to the elite.
Parle-G sales skyrocket during the COVID-19 pandemic
A downturn in Asia’s third-largest economy is negatively affecting sales of everything from cars to clothing, forcing big companies to curtail production and raising their hopes that the government will unveil an economic stimulus to revive growth.
Contrary to this, Parle Products, which is one of India’s leading food company, has recorded a surge in sales of Parle-G biscuits in the months of April and May during the COVID-19 lock down as quoted by Mayank Shah, Senior category head of Parle Products. The sales of Parle-G biscuits skyrocketed to the best level recorded in the last eight decades. As a result of these sales, the company has increased its market share by up to 5% from 4.5% in the highly competitive biscuits segment. All credits to India’s tea staple biscuits Parle-G, which was preferred by the people while stocking the pantry during the pandemic. The boost in sales is good news for the country’s biscuits giant, which had last year warned it might reduce production as well as its workforce amid slowing economic growth and falling demand.
Parle Products, India’s leading biscuit-makers got their operations running within a very span of time after the lockdown began on March 24. The company also arranged transport facilities for its workers for an easier and much safer commute to work. Once the factories were operational during the lockdown, the focus of the company was to produce the food that drove maximum sales.
Mayank Shah was also quoted saying that this has been one of the highest sales recorded in recent years. He even mentioned that he had not witnessed such a growth in the past 30 to 40 years.Mr.Shah said adding that in his entire 20 years of working with the biscuits major he has not witnessed a phenomenal performance like this before. Though the company has not revealed the specific sales numbers yet. Further speaking on the sales strategy adopted by the company during the lockdown phase, Mayank Shah said that Parle-G became the comfort food for many people, and for others, it was the only food they had available. According to the company, Parle-G has been the common man’s biscuit. The people who cannot afford bread buy Parle-G.
Several state governments in India had requested the company for biscuits. They were in constant touch with the biscuit maker, asking about their stock positions. Further, several NGOs bought humongous quantities of Parle-G biscuits from the company.
Recently Twitter was flooded with people celebrating the FM CG major’s sales performance and the brand appeal of Parle-G with the trending hashtag #BharatKaApnaBiscuit.
One such trending and the nostalgic tweet were made by actor Randeep Hooda who requested the company to just alter it’s plastic packaging to a biodegradable packaging to protect the environment.
Environment activists including Afroz Shah retweeted his post and also commented that the company should switch towards eco-friendly packaging. Over the past few years, Parle-G biscuits were lost in the crowd of premium brands and trendy variations of biscuits, suddenly became popular during the prolonged COVID-19 lock down. Nothing has changed about the biscuits, the same familiar yellow wrapping with the image of a grinning toddler and a never altering taste has been a core strength of the brand.
Parle Products generosity
In March just during the onset of COVID-19 lock down, India’s largest biscuits manufacturer declared it will donate three crore packets of Parle -G biscuits during the first phase of lock down in April. The donation was specially made to the needy people through various government agencies within the country.The company further said its manufacturing units are functioning with 50 per cent of workforce keeping with government advisories to prevent escalation of the COVID-19 infections. Company also assured that it is working towards to ensure that sufficient quantity of its products are available in the market all through the pandemic. This initiative by the biscuits giant is a continuation of the rich legacy of Parle G in service of the nation since decades. Parle-G was consumed and distributed as an essential source of energy during Kargil wartime and natural calamities like Tsunami and earthquakes, earning it the tagline of Bharat Ka Apna Biscuit. Also Parle G biscuits were widely distributed during floods in Kerala, Chennai and Maharashtra. Parle G biscuits for many decades have also been the comfort energy snack for the Indian armed forces be it while manning our borders or when engaged in various combat situations such as the Kargil War.
Parle-G has run brilliant advertising campaigns over the years. Their taglines have changed over the years, but the essence of their products remains the same. With time Parle Products has also ventured into philanthropist activities, like helping various children across the nation achieve their dreams.