Haldiram sales cross $1 billion

February 6, 2020

Sagar Malviya | ET

MUMBAI — Haldiram crossed the $1 billion sales mark in India after business doubled over the past four years, with consumers increasingly preferring packaged namkeen over western snacks.

The brand, split into three geographic entities with almost a dozen companies, posted a combined revenue of Rs 7,130 crore during FY19, according to filings sourced from Veratech Intelligence, exceeding the sales of Mondelez India and at par with Hindustan Unilever’s food and refreshment division.

Sales of Haldiram’s combined units grew 14 per cent from Rs 6,241 crore in FY18. While it also runs restaurant chains, packaged snacks contributed over 80 per cent of sales for the market leader.

“We understand Indian consumers’ snacking habits and ensure that operations including manufacturing and packaging are done in-house to keep quality in check and quickly adjust our portfolio to meet changing trends. Also, since we are family operated, decision-making is faster,” said a Haldiram spokesperson. “We have lower attrition compared to other consumer companies and that helps in keeping a stable management and consistent strategy.”

Haldiram operates out of New Delhi, Nagpur and Kolkata, after the Agarwal family split the business geographically among themselves in the 1990s. They are all descendants of Gangabhisan ‘Bhujiawala’ Agarwal, who started his entrepreneurial journey with a shop in Bikaner, Rajasthan, in 1937. Haldiram has survived disputes and break-ups and is the biggest label of those launched by the Agarwals, a family that also owns snack brands such as Bikanervala, Bhikharam Chandamal, Bikaji and Bikano.

“The market for traditional snacks has always been there but it was largely unorganised. Haldiram had a first-mover advantage, which helped as consumers moved towards branded namkeen,” said B Krishna Rao, senior category head at Parle Products. “While the brand is one, they have three different companies with distinct management and larger scale of operations compared to rivals.”

With sales of Rs 6,571 crore last calendar year, Haldiram controls a fifth of India’s snack market, which expanded 12 per cent to Rs 32,000 crore. While the growth rate has tapered from 14 per cent a year earlier, traditional snacks such as dal, chivra, bhujia and nuts are still growing faster than western products including potato chips.

Traditional namkeen outpaced western snacks a few years ago to become the largest sub-segment after multinationals and domestic companies pushed their products in the hinterland with attractive packaging and pricing.

However, this may have taken a toll on the bottom line. Haldiram said margins have been under stress due to increasing raw material costs and it hasn’t been able to hike product prices in a market that’s increasingly getting competitive.

Haldiram’s net profit grew 5 per cent to Rs 694 crore, which is less than 10 per cent of its overall sales.

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