According to recent reports from the Economic Times, desi food giant Haldiram’s recorded a revenue of Rs 4,000 crore, a 13 percent revenue growth, in the financial year 2016. This figure beats the revenues of the domestic figures of American fast food titans – Mcdonald’s (at Rs 1,390 crore) and Domino’s (at Rs 1,733 crore) for the year. The report also compares the revenue of Haldiram’s with Nestle’s flagship product, Maggi instant noodles which was pegged at Rs 1200 crore. This goes to prove that despite the onslaught of foreign foods such as instant ramen, burger, and pizzas, Indian snacks and farsan are still a great favourite among Indians.
From Humble Origins
Starting off as a small sweets and namkeen shop in the city of Bikaner (Rajasthan) in 1937, Haldiram’s has become a household name in the past eight decades. The company, founded by Sri Shivkisan Agrawal, has made a name for itself by producing, packaging, and exporting traditional sweets and savouries. It also owns a chain of retail stores across the country and numerous restaurants in Delhi, Kolkata, Nagpur and Patna.
By 1993, Haldiram’s started exporting its products to some 50 countries including the US and by 2003, this multi-crore company had earned the Most Trusted Brand industry certification. Making a mark in the ready-to-eat food category in a country as vast and diverse as India is not an easy accomplishment, but Haldiram’s managed it with relative ease.
Capturing Southern Markets
Most of Haldiram’s retail outlets, showrooms and restaurants are located in the northern, western and eastern regions of the country. Haldiram Snacks and Ethnic Foods is the branch that markets to the entire northern region, while Haldiram Bhujiawala looks after the sales in the eastern Indian states. Both west and south are looked after by Haldiram Foods International, based in Nagpur. The company’s presence in the southern states, however, is very weak. Even after repeated attempts at gaining a foothold in the southern states, the company has not been able to get it right.
Unlike many other Indian companies that have grown over the past decades, Haldiram’s attributes its tremendous success to the fact that the founding family still maintains a rigid control over the operations. Traditional recipes are guarded and handed down and family-led teams supervise manufacturing units and the business guarded from short-lived trends.
Each new family member is trained in flavour profiles and use of spices – groomed to take over key positions in the fast food empire.
Haldiram’s has also faced its set of challenges and struggles. Following the domestic ban on Maggi, in 2015, US food regulatory authority, FDA banned a number of snacks and food products made by Haldiram’s. The US FDA is reported to have found food pesticides and bacteria in high levels in these foods and marked them unsafe for sale in the US. Later in September 2015, India’s FDA from the state of Maharashtra undertook numerous tests on the products and gave the company a clean chit.
Growing past these challenges, Haldiram’s is looking for newer tie-ups and avenues for growth. In some states the company has tied up with Indian Railways to cater food on long distance trains.