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Bread Innovations

To cater to the growing number of health conscious consumers, the Indian bread industry is focusing more on product innovation to offer a diverse range of healthier options By Archana Sharma

To cater to the growing number of health conscious consumers, the Indian bread industry is focusing more on product innovation to offer a diverse range of healthier options By Archana Sharma

In recent times, bread has become one of the most affordable and basic instant food available for consumption globally. Though bread is not a staple food in India, its consumption has increased over the years. According to a report on ‘Bakery Industry in India’, the global bakery industry grew at an annual rate of 6.5 per cent year-on-year during 2007-13 and leading research associations project the global industry to grow at a CAGR of seven per cent in the next few years. The global bakery products market is forecasted to reach US$ 447 billion by 2017, driven by new consumer preferences for conveniently portioned and easy-to-consume bakery goods.

A study by Assocom Institute of Bakery Technology and Management (AIBTM), states that the Indian bread industry, which consist of both organised and unorganised sectors, contribute around 45 per cent and 55 per cent of the total bread production respectively. The organised sector consists of around 1800 small scale bread manufacturers around the country, besides 25 medium scale manufacturers and two large scale industries. The major players in the bread industry that hold about 90 per cent of the market share includes Britannia and Modern Industries. Apart from them, there are a few large regional players such as Spencer’s in South India, Kitty and Bonn in Punjab and Harvest Gold and Perfect in Delhi and NCR. The study suggests that the bakery industry in India has witnessed an annual growth rate of more than 15 per cent during the past years. There is an immense growth potential in both global and domestic markets.

Healthy living

The bakery industry in India can be classified into three segments – bread, biscuits and cakes. Initially breads and cakes weren’t part of the usual Indian dietary habit, however with evolving Indian lifestyle their consumption picked up significantly. And presently with Indians shifting towards more healthier options, there has been an emergence of many healthier bread products in the market. “There has been a shift in the consumer’s tastes and preferences and the modern, educated and elite class are looking at the different products. The market is growing and people are now looking more towards healthier products, like brown bread, multi-grain and whole wheat rather than just the maida one,” states Rajesh Parashar, marketing manager, Bonn which presently holds about 70-75 per cent of the market share in Punjab. The company is also present in most of the northern markets like Delhi, NCR, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. “Consumers have more choices available to them and with international exposure, India is trending towards fresh bread and bakeries. Even though they cost almost three times more, the consumers are willing to pay for that,” adds Parashar.

Indian bread consumers are also fast evolving in their eating habits and are willing to include bread and other similar products as a part of their staple diet. Consumers are willing to experiment beyond the traditional usage of bread, hence, the gourmet segment is also showing growth. Product offerings like croissants, dinner rolls, sourdoughs, pizza bases, etc which have established themselves with western consumers are now finding strong takers in the Indian market as well. Vitamin enriched white sandwich bread, multigrain bread, multifiber bread and honey oats are also fast emerging as some of the preferred products among consumers.

Product innovationIn bread, profitability has remained the focal point for some time. Players have been looking to increase their share of value-added products, while focussing on operational efficiencies linked to daily distribution. Britannia offers a variety of bread products to cater to the diverse needs of today’s consumer. The product ranges from the basic white sandwich breads to brown breads within the sliced bread format and buns, pavs and pizza bases in the variety space. “We have a wide variety of breads in the regular as well as the health segment with multi grains, honey oats, and of course the brown bread. In terms of product innovation, we also have honey-oat, rai and daliya bread in the pipelines,” reaveals Parashar.

Hospitality demand

Even though most chefs prefer making their own breads, the hospitality sector has been one of the major clienteles for the bread manufacturing industry. “The hospitality sector is another major market and we have created a separate department to handle those needs. Mostly chefs make their own breads but this market is definitely growing and therefore we are also coming up with new products like buns and burgers for the same,” opines Parashar.

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