The Indian Tortilla Is Quiet Flavourful!

– Different Flavour Trends, Market Scenario, Supply and Demand

By: Mr. Naveen Bhandari*

gulabsChanging consumer lifestyles which is increasingly become fast paced has resulted in people looking for options in the food category that is readily available to consumption or can be easily cooked. This along with the increasing disposable incomes could be the reason why snacking industry has seen a tremendous growth over the past few years. As per a report by Nielson, the sales in the snacking category had grown more than six fold from a modest 8000 crores in 2004 to 47,000 crores in 2013. One of the snacks that is gaining much attention and there by consumption is a north Indian snack called Khakhra, which is progressively becoming a healthy snack substitute for potato chips, biscuits and other snack items. The primary reason for this is attributed to, Khakhras being roasted and not fried and also because it is made of wheat.

Different flavour trends: Khakhras are flat chapatti like crackers made of wheat basically. The khakhras can be plain or mixed with various ingredients and flavours suitable to one’s choice. It was conceptualised primarily in Rajasthan and Gujarat, and consumed in Jain and Gujarati households earlier. But now, we believe that they are becoming a common household snack across India. This primarily could be attributed to various flavours and changes done to this traditional snack. Currently there is a plethora of options in flavours available, as far as 100-125 flavours such as Methi, Ajwain, Moongadi, Besan, Panipuri, Szechwan, Manchurian, Jeera, Masala, Ghee, Punjabi and many more. These flavours are in tandem with the typical Indian palette. They are devoured as it is or with curd, pickle, chutney etc., making them a great accompaniment with the evening tea, as a breakfast or anytime one feels like munching on something. These days fusion style is catching up and even experimented with Blue Berry, Lime Chilly, Maggi, Oregano, Chocolate, Cheese and Red Velvet to meet the requirement of the millennials!

Market Scenario: Khakhras and its production currently exist in a highly unorganised segment and the ones generally available in the market, in mass, are ones that come in transparent plastic sheets with flavour name and pricing slapped on it. Branded ones are rare and those available are regional players. Considering the fact that India’s market for biscuits and likes, is Rs 26000 crores plus (as on 2016), we visualised and conceptualised khakhras to take a big share of the pie by bringing khakhras into an organised segment.

Marketing: Unlike conventional methods, Khakhras aren’t promoted on radios, televison and newspapers. It’s available across tea stalls, promoted heavily on social media, online portals and of course present at super markets and even sold through homemakers. It’s especially popular among tourists and travellers traveling abroad because of its lasting shelf life without any preservatives. It has even found itself in lunch boxes of school going kids, parties, events at hotels and kitty parties with different dips and toppings. Sky is the limit when it comes to trying it with different combinations.

Demand: Khakhras being lighter and healthier than biscuits and other namkeens, are eyed by the health conscious ones as well. It is travel friendly too because of various options offered by right packaging. The behaviour and reaction of consumer wants to the flavours are also evolving with trending times. They are willing to try and experiment with new varieties. For example, in Southern India, the popular flavours are Methi, Moong dal – which is an eye opening insight. Whilst, in the North, the trending is far more different because of the presence of too many more options (unbranded) as most of the manufacturers are based out of North, especially Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Generally, age old Khakhras have been 6 inch diameter ones (round). Considering the growing popularity, the sizes and shapes are varying, of which the popular ones are called Mobile Khakhras and Tiny Khakhras. The mobile ones are oblong shaped while tiny khakhras are round with a much smaller diameter.

Supply: Currently the distribution of Khakhras is unorganised largely being cottage industry. Northern India consists of numerous players manufacturing Khakhras at factories, home and gruha udyogas. Few of the players supply to other parts of India. When it comes to rest of the country, there are only handful of manufacturers supplying them locally. Therefore, the need of the hour is to organise the market which will indirectly have an influence in popularising this product and giving it, its due respect. When multiple manufacturers are involved, there’s competition that involves best pricing to take the lead, which results in quality of the ingredients being compromised on, which shouldn’t be the case. This should be regularised.

Given the right amount of marketing and promotion that is enjoyed by other snack items, awareness about its goodness, combined with the streamlining of its production and distribution, Khakhras will be the next big thing on Indian snacking shelves.

gulabsMade with passion, and following traditional manufacturing methods, these Khakhras currently are offered in 5 flavours such as Plain, Methi, Ajwain, Moongadi (made with Mogar Daal) and Besan (made with filling), were made to reach households across India, with lab approvals, FSSAI license, with proper packaging (which also goes hand in hand with the traditional recipe) sold in an organised fashion through structured retail segment.

We believe in handcrafted quality food products like Khakhras, Sharbats, Masalas and Pickles made from age old recipes (100 years old) passed on from generations and all being pure VEGETARIAN. These khakhras are primarily engaged with usage of ghee and not oil, which in itself makes the Khakhras have a rich taste and superior quality.

Gulabs products involve the usage of highest quality of curated raw materials thereby having a superior taste. Recently, Gulabs also launched Tiny Khakhras, with a 2.5 inch diameter, making it very unique and extremely comfortable for travel friendliness. Available at 300+ retail stores, online portals and at cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels across Chennai, Kodaikanal, Goa, Pondicherry, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore, it’s also into cobranding with renowned brands such as Godrej’s Natures Basket, Sri Krishna Sweets, Nuts N Spices, Old Madras Baking Company, Chai Kings, Fruit Shop on Greams Road etc.

*Managing Director, Gulabs

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Food Marketing & Technology is a monthly magazine published by L.B. Associates Pvt Ltd

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