From e-tailers to kirana shops, local brands are the new flavour

Customers, too, are buying happily, more relieved at the sheer availability than fretting over the absence of their usual brands.

By Reya Mehrotra

Several FMCG brands might have taken a hit owing to poor supply chains and accessibility in the over a month of the lockdown, but for local brands it has been an opportunity they have not missed. A visit to any neighbourhood kirana shop will reveal piles of snacks, bakery goods, groceries, soaps and sanitisers that have been made in the immediate vicinity. And it’s a win-win for everyone — manufacturers, shop owners and customers.

In the absence of adequate supplies from major brands, shops have filled their shelves with local brands of chips, snacks, rusk, atta, oil, soaps, sanitisers, pulses, biscuits, breads, etc. Customers, too, are buying happily, more relieved at the sheer availability than fretting over the absence of their usual brands.

Anukriti Dasgupta, a homemaker and resident of Gurgaon says, “When we go grocery shopping these days, popular branded items are few, so we opt for locally-made goods. For products like spices, rusk, chips, etc, the brand does not matter and their prices are cheaper too. But for things like milk, we are sticking to renowned brands to ensure quality.”

A recent report by Nielsen, a global marketing research firm, Nielsen COVID-19 Impact on FMCG and Retail: Edition 2, reveals that in March alone, as many as 152 new players entered the hand sanitiser segment and sales of local-made hand sanitisers grew from 11% between November 2019 and January 2020 to 53% in February this year.

More Retail deputy MD Mohit Kampani was recently quoted as saying, “Shifts are happening in atta, pulses, spices and edible oil with local brands, and those who are able to supply are gaining share as their supply chains have a fair degree of flexibility.”

Having made their mark, local manufacturers are now waiting for the lockdown to be over to consolidate.

Nitesh Kalra, a supplier of bakery items in Sundar Vihar, Delhi, says, “My brand of baked goods, The Basket Pie, has sold well, but I would like to scale up things after the lockdown with better stock and more staff.

People like him will get help from e-tailers too, who are pitching in to help general stores reach out to a wider customer base. Amazon has launched a ‘local shops on Amazon’ programme to help kirana stores to sell online.

The programme includes stores from Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Surat, Indore, Lucknow, Saharanpur, Faridabad, Kota and Varanasi, among others. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) is also working with the Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT) to launch a national marketplace for the country’s over 70 million traders, which will give a huge push to local brands.

Amazon India vice-president, seller services, Gopal Pillai has said their programme will also help customers with faster deliveries and a greater selection.

The development came soon after the announcement of the mega $5.7-billion deal between Facebook and Reliance Jio that aims to link kirana stores and customers through WhatsApp.

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