The colours in the brand's earlier logo -red white and green are perhaps etched clearly in the memories of every middle aged Indian, especially those who associated biscuits with Britannia. What started as a supplier of service biscuits to Second World War armed forces has now transformed into a leading packaged food giant. Today the company continues to be on the path of reinventing itself and changing according to the times and consumer taste, aggressive competition and food industry reforms notwithstanding. Yes, it is true that not many brands can withstand the test of time, especially when market forces compel them to keep evolving and adjusting to newer demands and newer consumer preferences.
Britannia, which completed 100 years recently, is one of the few examples of a brand that has sustained its reputation for over a century now. The company was first set up in Kolkata in 1892 with an investment of Rs 295 and incorporated in 1918 as a public limited company. The other brand that comes close to Britannia in the same category is Parle G, which has shown brand endurance for nearly eight decades. Despite competition, Britannia has now grown to become a Rs 10,000 crore behemoth, which reaches 50 per cent of Indian consumers with its network of over five million retail outlets.
The company also has many firsts to its credit. In 1954, Britannia pioneered the high quality sliced and wrapped bread industry in India and, in 1963, the company ventured into the cakes portfolio. It first breached the Rs 100-crore mark in 1983 and entered dairy products in 1997. In 2007, Britannia industries formed a joint venture with the Khimji Ramdas Group and acquired a 70 per cent beneficial state in the Dubai-based Strategic Foods International 65.4 per cent in the Oman-based Al Sallan Food Industries.
India is currently the world's third largest biscuit manufacturing nation after the US and China. According to 6Wresearch, the Indian biscuit market is projected to reach $8.2 billion by 2023. Besides Britannia, major companies operating in the biscuit market of India include ITC, Parle Biscuits, Surya Food & Agro and Unibic Foods India. However, in the organised sector, the industry is dominated by Britannia and Parle, which account for 70 per cent of the industry's volumes.
Media Courtesy : Business World