Three of the biggest snack food brands to hail from Bikaner, namely Bikaji, Bikanervala, and Haldiram, sold snacks worth $ 1 Billion in 2018 alone. With this, the three brands have now cornered more than a quarter of the packaged snacks market in India. Moreover, they have also cornered more than half of the Indian namkeen segment in the country. According to Neilson reports the three brands enjoyed a combined sales of more than ₹ 7,042 Crore in 2018. Interestingly, the three brands saw a significant increase in their sales just last year as more and more consumers now prefer namkeens over western snacks. This increase in sales measured at roughly ₹ 1,500 Crore. With these sales, the three brands have easily outpaced the likes of ITC and PepsiCo!
When asked about why they think they have enjoyed such immense success, Mr. Kamal Agarwal, a fourth generation member of the founding family of Haldiram, said “Bhujia business is in our blood and we have been doing it for 80 years. With the entire family involved, there is a higher sense of brand ownership, which no company professional can match,” He further said, “Decision making is fast and we understand the pulse of the market in terms of consumer taste.”
Haldiram started as a small shop in Bikaner in 1937 and has now grown into a global brand. Though the brand has seen its fair share of disputes and break-ups, it has prospered against the odds to continue to rise and grow. Haldiram outpaced the sales of Pepsico in 2017 and is one of India’s top snacks producers. They sold products that were worth a total of ₹ 5,532 Crore in 2018. The brand currently has three main geographic entities namely Haldiram Manufacturing, Haldiram Bhujiawala, and Haldiram Foods.
Bikaji Foods, a top brand within this space that competes with Haldiram, was founded by a member of the same family, Shivratan Agarwal. He is the grandson of the co-founder of Haldiram, Gangabhishan Agarwal. Bikaji Foods was started in 1987.
These three brands are all family run and all belong to the Agarwal clan.
According to Mr. Suresh Goel, the CEO at Bikanervala Foods (which also owns Bikano), talked about how the families play a key role in maintaining the integrity of the brand. He said “We have completely professionalized the firm but have kept the success recipe intact. For instance, we make all our products in-house to control quality and cost, which gives us an edge over other national brands,”
Traditional snacks currently account for more than half the snacks market in India. According to B Krishna Rao, the senior category head at Parle G, these home-grown brands from Bikaner have a huge advantage in this market. “As consumers shifted to traditional snacks, the options were mostly restricted to either smaller local brands in every state or larger national brands owned by Agarwals,” He also said “But we also see a lot of companies including MNCs entering traditional namkeens, something that can impact their future growth,”
Experts estimate that these Bikaneri families will target Gujarat next.