Consumption slowdown bites into Britannia's new product launch plans

Topics Britannia | consumption | FMCG

Biscuit-maker Britannia has decided to go slow in scaling up its newer products because of the consumption slowdown. The company is holding back the pan-Indian launches of its salted snacks and croissants products as it feels it is not the right time to take those nationally.

“In normal circumstances, we would have taken it national, but in times like these (when the economy is slowing down) it might be a good idea to take the product to absolute finality and then launch it,” said Varun Berry, managing director, Britannia Industries, during an investor call on Monday.

Even though Britannia’s net profit for the December quarter grew 23 per cent to Rs 369.8 crore on a year-on-year (YoY) basis, its revenue grew at 4.9 per cent YoY, reflecting slowing demand on the face of weak consumer sentiment. “During slowdown, consumers go back to their favourite brand, which gives them more comfort and they are not as experimentative as they would be in good times,” he added. 

The Good Day biscuit maker is hoping to take the croissant offers, which it is currently fine-tuning, pan-Indian by May-June this year and salted snacks in the next six months. 

Croissants are currently available in two variants of chocolate and vanilla in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, while the baked salted snacks are available in three formats of chips, centre fills and sticks in South Indian states, with minute presence in West India.  

The company management said it was hopeful that things would stabilise in the next two quarters and it would see uptick as far as growth is concerned. “The Indian consumer is extremely resilient and at some stage she’s going to say enough is enough. Let me live my life. That’s the point when things will start to fall back in place,” said Berry.

According to a Nielsen report, the FMCG market is expected to grow 9-10 per cent in 2020, on a par with last year but slower than the double-digit growth of 13.5 per cent posted in 2018.

Biscuit maker’s journey

• Wafers: Available in four flavours across India
• Market share: 10% 
• Milkshakes: Available in four flavours nationally
• Focus to enhance distribution
• Salted snacks: Offer in three formats in South  
• Likely to go national in six months
• Croissants: Presence in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal
• Plans for national launch in 3-4 months

Source: Company

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