India’s domestic snack makers and imported brands are vying for the top spot in the salted snacks category. Companies in the multinational camp are PepsiCo and ITC (both of which manufacture their foods in India) Regional companies include Haldiram Foods, Parle Products, Balaji Wafers, and Prataap Snacks. Economic Times reports a study by London-based global researcher Euromonitor, which shows that between 2013 and 2015, while Lay‘s lost share from 51.1% to 49.5%, local players Balaji Wafers, Haldiram’s and Prataap Snacks have steadily gained share every year.
A PepsiCo spokesperson said the firm would not be able to comment on specific market share data, and that the company “strongly refutes” the notion that it lost market share in potato chips in 2015.”We gained share in the potato chips category last year on the back of continued momentum on Lay’s, strong growth of Uncle Chipps, successful premium innovations like Lay’s Maxx and strong consumer engagement programs around the [cricket]World Cup. We believe that PepsiCo is further strengthening its position in the potato chips category,” the spokesperson said. Three years ago PepsiCo had initiated talks to buy a majority stake in Balaji Wafers, the four-decade-old company based out of Rajkot, in the western state of Gujarat, but was offered a minority stake. “We have risen from the grassroots, do not spend on marketing and invest heavily on technology and flavors,” Balaji Wafers managing director Chandu Virani said.
This year Lay’s has introduced Crispz and Twitz, at two price points: 8 cents and 30 cents. The company plans to market them in tier-II and III town and cities to counter competition from regional salty snacks players. Pepsico, is also scaling up its $1-billion-plus Doritos snacks brand.
India’s $2.75 billion salty snacks market includes a large number of fragmented players. Regional players operate on lower fixed costs, sell on lower price points, and bank heavily on localized flavors.