Rule, Britannia rule the world!

What is it about nostalgia that makes us revisit old songs, flip through damp photos or visit places where we have created everlasting memories. It is that element of happy recall that makes nostalgic events make an instant connect. The iconic jingle Ting-ting ti-ting’ from the makers of goodness, Britannia, makes us go down our memory lanes as we associate it with people and places with whom we have shared a slice of love. Today, in the HungerPacks “Vocal for Local” edits, we bring you the tale of one such food companies of India with whom we have intertwined our stories of nostalgia. Their journey of delivering delightful bites to over a billion people at home and beyond continues to help us eat healthy and think better.

The firsts of many 

Beginning its manufacturing from just a few packets of biscuit in a small house in central Kolkata during 1892, Britannia Industries Ltd. has become India’s leading food companies today with a 128 years long journey and millions of Indians who trust and value it. Incorporated on 21st March 1918, as a Public Limited Company under the Indian Companies Act, VII of 1913, Britannia became the first company outside of Europe to install and run a gas oven plant in the year 1921 and paved the way with a series of firsts over the year.  With the help of Peek, Frean & Co.Ltd ( a leading biscuit manufacturing company), Britannia strengthened its positions in Calcutta and expanded operations in Mumbai.

Interestingly, it was Britannia which began the development of high quality sliced and wrapped bread for residents of Delhi in 1954 which was later introduced in Chennai and Calcutta as well. They also launched their first popular biscuit product called “Bourbon” in the successive year and cakes in 1963.

During the 2nd world war, Britannia saw an increase in the sales of the bakery, soya products and cashew exports. Britannia hence used this opportunity to introduce new biscuit brands like Circuit, Pure Magic, Good Day, Elaichi Cream and Petit Beurre while introducing new variants of the existing brands like Milk Bikis.

Global recognition 

During the end of 20th century, Wadia Group became a 50% partner in Britannia along with the Danone Group. Not only did this deal become an important milestone for Britannia, but the idea of making Britannia a more health-conscious product for consumers was born during the same time. Changing the corporate identity to “Eat Healthy, Think Better” along with the launch of products like Baker’s Choice and Thinlite were a few initial steps taken in this direction.

Daring to go the healthy route!

By the beginning of the 21st century, Britannia launched their first products in the dairy vertical and became No.1 food brand of India by Economic Times Brand Equity survey. Moreover, in 2004, Britannia got the title of a ‘superbrand’ as the volume of biscuits sold by Britannia crossed 3,00,000 tonnes.

Britannia takes pride in having stayed true to its credential. Having removed over 8500 tonnes of Trans Fats from products, Britannia became India’s first Zero Trans Fat Company in 2009.  A Variety of Health breads like (100% Whole Wheat Bread,  Multi-Fiber Bread, Multi-Grain Bread ) has been launched alongside products under the umbrella of NutriChoice – the first of its kind of biscuits in India with no added sugar to promote healthy alternatives during snacks and breakfast.

The latest addition to their portfolio has been the ready-to-eat delicious croissants which started as a joint venture agreement with Chipita S.A, (a Greek food company).

Today, the world is its oyster!

With a presence in more than 80 countries across the globe, BIL’s has local manufacturing centres in UAE and Oman to cater to the middle east. Not just this, the company is also the market leader in Nepal and is in the process of further strengthening their hold there. Further, Britannia already exports across North America, Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia through the private port in Mundra SEZ, Gujarat.

According to their strategic expansion plan based on the principle of  ‘One new market a year’, they have already made plans to improve local operations in Africa and Southeast Asian countries like Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia and Myanmar in the coming years.

When it comes to Indian Market, Britannia is continuing to gain market share in the biscuits space despite the increased competition in its core biscuits portfolio and the ongoing rural slowdown

Innovation and Partnerships

Britannia launched its state of the art R&D Centre facility in Bidadi, Karnataka in 2016 which uses cutting edge technology to make sure that the dream of becoming a complete food company in the near future is achieved as soon as possible. In addition to this, rather than increasing prices, Britannia was focussing on expanding their non-biscuits portfolio. However, due to Covid-19, Britannia has postponed new launches and has taken steps to reduce wastage while promoting cost-cutting by reducing production capacity and reducing travel distance between customers and factory. 

Furthermore, Britannia has partnered with concierge startup Dunzo to deliver its essential products amidst the lockdown as a response to ensure uninterrupted supply of essentials in major metropolitan cities around India. Moreover, in association with Whatsapp,Britannia has launched a GPS based chatbot which publishes a list of consumer stores near them in response to the surge in requirement of products by the users.

Bouncing Back from COVID19

Similar to other competitive brands like Parle and ITC, the production has been reduced to 65% of its whole capacity with the idea to meet customer demands during the pandemic and not profit. Moreover, steps to maintain hygiene and improvements are being made according to the guidelines issued by the WHO and the Indian government. The biggest challenge after the ease of transport restrictions in various states, however, remains to be manpower required during manufacturing and last-mile delivery, according to Varun Berry (MD Britannia).

Britannia, the makers of goodness is one company that has proven to be the #acheecheese in the FCMG world and has constantly given us good days to look forward to. Here’s hoping, the iconic Indian maker of taste and health continues to grow leaps and bounds while taking India to the world!

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