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Sunday, November 1, 2020

Biscuit firms see record sales in lockdown quarter

Britannia on Friday, 17th July, said its revenue from operations soared 26% to Rs 3,384 crore in the April-June quarter, compared to the year-ago quarter.

Biscuit makers have been among the biggest beneficiaries of the coronavirus pandemic. Biscuit consumption surged as people stayed at home, avoided street food, and as millions used it as food-on-the-go while moving to their towns and villages from the metros.

Britannia on Friday, 17th July, said its revenue from operations soared 26% to Rs 3,384 crore in the April-June quarter, compared to the year-ago quarter. In the January-March quarter, the rise was just 1.5%. Profit also doubled to Rs 542 crore in the latest quarter, and margins soared to 20%, from 15%.

Britannia Managing Director, Varun Berry said, “There is no street food right now and rural has also been a solid story for us.” Samosas, puffs, pav bhajis, idlis, vadas and dosas that would have been the snacking staples in offices, gave way to biscuits at home. In August last year, Berry was bemoaning the fact that people were thinking twice before buying a Rs 5 biscuit packet.

Unibic CEO, Sreenivasulu Vudayagiri said the company’s sales were up 50% in the latest quarter compared to last year. “The industry grew at high teens in the last three months,” he said.

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Devendra Chawla, CEO of Spencer’s Retail and Nature’s Basket, said the moving population from cities to rural regions used it as a source of energy and food on-the-go. “More screen time and online kids schooling resulted in more associated snacking in the urban areas. Work from home has led to more tea and coffee, and unlike at the office, snacks accompany these drinks at home. And with less choices at home than out of home, biscuits have gained,” he said.

For Parle, sales between March and May clocked the highest volumes in eight decades. “The first quarter was good for the entire foods industry due to home consumption, absence of alternatives and also because no street food was available,” said Mayank Shah, Category Head of Parle Products. In August last year, the company was said to have been looking at major layoffs to deal with the slump in biscuit consumption.

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