Haldiram’s, which started as a small snacks business in Bikaner, is now worth 3.3 Billion USD. This snack food giant has been making headlines for all the right reasons lately. From teaming up with a French Bakery called Brioche Doree to courting the second largest snack foods brands in the world – Kellog’s, Haldiram’s has certainly come a long way. In this article, we will take a look at these brands exponential growth from a bhujia store in 1937 to the global giant that it has become today.
Reinventing the Bhujia – the start of an empire
When Ganga Bhishen Agarwal j(lovingly called Haldiram by his mother) joined his family business, little did he know that he would be instrumental in creating an iconic brand. As a young boy, he would often observe the way his aunt made Bikaneri Bhujia, which is what led to him experimenting with the traditional recipe when he joined his family’s shop. The soon to be baron added Moth lentil to the flour and also ran the mixture through a tighter sieve in order to create a thinner and crunchier variant of the classic product. Knowing that this was different and needed its own branding, Mr. Agarwal demonstrated great marketing skills by naming the product ‘Dungar Sev’ – after Maharaja Dungar Singh, a popular ruler of Bikaner.
He got out of the family shop and established his own business. The bhujia was so popular that he would sell more than 200 kilo’s in a week. His prices shot up from 2 paise per kg to 25 paise as the product’s popularity grew more and more.
Interestingly, Mr. Agarwal had no plans to expand until he went for a wedding in Kolkatta. On observing the tastes of the local people, he decided to open up a branch in the city. This was the first instance of his empire expanding. The business was doing well, and his children were content with its growth.
A hungrier generation takes over the business
While his children were content with the performance of the business, the grandchildren had bigger dreams. They expanded the business to Delhi and Nagpur, where it was met with great success. Consumers were clamoring for more and this led to Haldiram’s opening manufacturing units in Delhi to meet the increasing demand. With time, there were three main geographical areas of operations – Delhi based operations that worked in North India, Nagpur based operations that captured west and south India, and the smallest operation in Kolkatta.
The seeds planted in the business were just beginning to sprout and fruit. Haldiram’s was no longer a small shop in Bikaner, but now a legitimate brand with its own branches.
However, not all is well within this brand. The three main branches are involved in a legal dispute, with the Kolkatta operations dragging the Delhi and Nagpur ones to court over trademark issues.
in FY16, Haldiram’s generated a revenue of more than 4,000 Crore INR. To put things in perspective, this was more than the coupled revenue of Domino’s and McDonalds. Furthermore, it was more than the sales seen by the packaged food division of Hindustan Unilever and Nestle Maggi. In the financial year that ended in September 2017, Haldiram’s had emerged as the top brand for snack foods in India after two long decades. It even surpassed PepsiCo to get this spot, with sales of 4,224.8 Crore INR compared to PepsiCo’s sales of 3,990.7 Crore INR.
Currently, Delhi based Haldiram’s Ethnic Foods and Nagpur based Haldiram’s Food International, and their affiliates, are valued at over 3.3. Billion USD. Experts estimate that these two divisions are going to end the year 2019 with sales worth 4,500 – 5,000 Crore INR and with profits worth 450-500 Crore INR.
Partnering with Brioche Doree
Recently, Haldiram’s announced its partnership with French Bakery, Brioche Doree. This marks their first partnership outside their family. The bakery is the second largest bakery chain in the world and will be serving vegetarian food for the first time since its existence. Their first outlet will open in Delhi, in CP.
Talks with Kellog’s
Now, the latest development with Haldiram’s is that they are in talks with Kellog’s. The brand wants to buy a stake in Haldiram’s so that it can enter the Indian market with the same ease as Brioche Doree. Haldiram’s widespread acceptance all over India is what makes it such an attractive option for Kellog’s – the latter does not want to face the challenges of introducing a foreign brand in the country.
Kellog’s is currently negotiating with two operational branches of Haldiram’s – Delhi based Haldiram’s Ethnic Foods and Nagpur based Haldiram’s Food International, and their affiliates. The Kolkatta branch is left out of the loop, though their ongoing legal battles may cause a problem during the sales.