Monday, May 15, 2006

Why do companies make the same biscuits?

There are two big biscuit brands in India. Britannia and Parle. Both their product lines are notoriously similar to each other. They have a Marie, a Bourbon, a Glucose, a Salty, a Sweet-Salty, a Butter biscuit and so on. I am not sure who is the leader and who is the follower in each of these categories. There are innovative ideas in each biscuit makers basket (the Nutrichoice series for Britannia, Hide n seek series for Parle), which seems to slowly find its way into the others. Parle now has a "Digestive" Marie and Britania has a Choco-nut cookie.

It seems to be like the Cola market where every maker has a brown cola, a clear one, an orange flavour and mineral water.

What is even more baffling is the fact that new entrants like Priya Gold or ITC Sunfeast, are mimicking nearly the same product profile. On the whole ITC seems to be more innovative, atleast watching Bangalore where Priya does not seem to have made too much inroads on supermarket shelves. ITC has an Orange marie, a Chilli salted biscuit apart from the usual suspects above.

I think I have an answer as to why apart from the existing players, even new entrants do not really want to diverge beyond the "formula" of a "portfolio" of biscuit flavours. The perception is perhaps the market is so commoditised that a customer usually will choose one salted (or glucose) biscuit over another if his favoured brand is not available. It also helps in Kiranas where the grocer can comfortably tell "that is not available, try this one" and like the cola market, really, anything will do. But is this the only answer? Is the only way to make big inroads into the biscuit market by mimicking the portfolio of the successful players? There are niche brands that think different though!

1 comment:

subodh kumar singh said...

because creating a new variety or variant would take lot of efforts and market surveys ,shortcut is to follow a leader and copy the variety