Food & Beverage

India’s food and beverage category constitutes about 40% of its Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry. This sector was valued at $15 billion in 2012.

Food
The packaged food industry comprises of baked goods, convenience food, dairy, and confectionaries. Biscuits (cookies) are one of the most popular baked goods in India. India-based Parle is a leader in this category with its biscuit brand Parle-G, an Indian favorite. Another India-based company Britannia Industries Ltd. specializes in bakery goods and dairy products.

The convenience food segment includes frozen meals, packaged snacks, and ready-to-cook foods. India-based Mother Dairy’s Safal Fruits & Vegetables is the most prevalent frozen food product. Another Indian company MTR Foods specializes in ready-to-eat foods allowing working middle-class consumers to conveniently recreate traditional Indian dishes. Prominent international brands in this segment include Nestle’s Maggi instant noodles and ready-to-eat meals, PepsiCo’s Lay’s and Kurkure snacks, and Hindustan Unilever Ltd.’s Kissan condiments, juices, and jams.

India is the largest producer and consumer of milk in the world. Local vendors contribute to the majority of the dairy segment. India-based Amul provides milk-based products such as ghee, an ingredient used in traditional Indian meals. Nestle is a popular choice for milk substitutes, buttermilk, and probiotic yogurt.

The confectionary segment includes desserts and sweets. Chicago-based Mondelez’s Cadbury chocolate is very popular in India. India-based Haldiram’s produces Indian desserts, snacks, and ice cream.

Beverage
Tea is the most common hot beverage in India, especially in northern, western and eastern regions. Hindustan Unilever Ltd. leads this segment with its Brooke Bond Red Label, Brooke Bond 3 Roses, Brooke Bond Taj Mahal, Brooke Bond Taaza, and Lipton tea brands. TATA Global Beverage’s Tetley tea is also popular. The population in southern India has historically preferred coffee, both brewed and instant, including coffee blended with chicory.

Cold drinks such as soft drinks and fruit drinks are becoming more common in the country. Coca-cola and PepsiCo dominate this category.

Packaged water is increasingly prevalent as the Indian population does not trust the quality of municipal water. Parle Agro’s Bisleri, PepsiCo’s Aquafina and Coca-Cola’s Kinley, and Tata’s Himalaya are the most well-known brands. Hundreds, if not thousands of small bottlers also sell water, some of whom are of dubious quality.

Alcoholic beverages are also popular in India.

Key Challenges in Food & Beverage Segment

  • Penchant for fresh/home-made and value consciousness: The Indian housewife has a penchant for freshly cooked food over packaged food. This is a result of dietary patterns, poor electricity supply, low penetration of refrigerators and a family structure where one of the primary roles of the housewife is feeding the family. She is extremely value conscious.
  • Diversity of tastes and preferences: Multiple cultures, languages and religions have a huge bearing on the tastes and preferences of the Indian consumer. This is a challenge for foreign entrants aspiring to develop a pan Indian presence.

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