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Food For Thought: Health foods, kitchen essentials defy FMCG gloom amid lockdowns in April

April FMCG sales fell 16 percent month on month, according to retail intelligence platform Bizom, but people bought more branded rice, cooking oils and food that is marketed as immunity boosting or healthy.

May 14, 2021 / 06:39 PM IST
Edible saw a strong increase of 8.5 percent MoM in April, shows data

Edible saw a strong increase of 8.5 percent MoM in April, shows data

Health foods, branded rice and cooking oils along with immunity-boosting products were the bright spots in retail sales in April when pandemic-triggered restrictions across the country hit sales of fast-moving consumer goods.

Recent data from retail intelligence platform Bizom shows FMCG sales fell 16 percent month-on-month (MoM) in April. The decline was led by a 12 percent fall at kirana stores and 4 percent reduction in stocking, as per the data from Bizom.

However, sales of some categories such as branded edible oil and rice (non-basmati) were much better than confectionaries, which declined 20 percent MoM.

Commodities and healthy foods gain, yet again  

Sale of most commodities except for edible oil and rice was impacted in April because of reduced out-of-home consumption of foods and the impact on hotels, restaurants, and cafes, but branded rice and edible oil fared well due to higher at-home consumption, said Akshay D'souza, chief marketing officer, Bizom.

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“The overall commodity market grew slightly in lower single digits. Among these, edible saw a strong increase of 8.5 percent MoM, which indicates that people are stocking up these products due to restricted movement,” he said.

“Branded rice (non-Basmati) also witnessed a 3.6 percent MoM increase in sales,” he added.

Healthy foods are also faring well. Marico has seen significant growth in its healthy foods portfolio in the January-March quarter, which grew 134 percent in value terms in Q4 and crossed Rs 300 crore in turnover in FY21. This growth trajectory, the company claims, continues.

“We have seen an exponential rise in our immunity-boosting range during the last month. Our brands such as the Saffola Immuniveda range of Golden Turmeric Milk Mix and Kadha Mix are showing an upward trend of above 100 percent growth at the start of this month as compared to April,” shared Sanjay Mishra, COO, India Sales and CEO, New Business, Marico.

According to Mishra, these products had an unprecedented demand on e-commerce, which has more than doubled its business at the beginning of this month as compared to March.

Snacking on decline  

Unlike last year, confectionaries have struggled. According to data from Bizom, sale of confectionaries declined by 20 percent MoM in April.

“Last year, after the reopening of the economy, confectionaries had seen growth but we did not see this trend repeating itself in April,” said D’souza.

Brands operating in the segment also have experienced a drop in demand.

“The overall sales have gone down across categories because of the coronavirus pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns,” said Manish Aggarwal, Director, Bikano, Bikanervala Foods.

Lockdowns and strict curfews in many states impacted delivery and distribution services, prompting the company to focus on finding and plugging the gaps in distribution, he said.
Devika Singh
first published: May 14, 2021 06:39 pm

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