By G Mohan
In the 1990s, a popular tagline from Parle for their Melody chocolates was “Melody khao, khud jaan jao”. Parle is one of the few remaining Indian companies in the consumer sector. One arm of Parle did sell off the soft drinks brands to Coca Cola but rest of the family continues to fight it out and do well in the marketplace in biscuits, fruit drinks and bottled water.
Parle is an unlisted company so they really focus on the long-term. They do not have the pressures to manage quarterly results.
Parle biscuits are available across the country thanks to their wide distribution network. They now have a huge variety also that caters to all age groups and socio-economic classes. Parle is No 1 in India in terms of volume and No 2 in terms of revenue behind Britannia.
Parle G is the world”s largest selling biscuit brand.
Now when Parle complains about economic slowdown and even taking steps to cut down 10000 jobs, it is serious. They have no shareholders or media to please. An 80-year-old company has seen many business cycles. Never in their history they have laid off people. At least this is what the media says.
When India was facing a serious food crisis in the mid-1960s, the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri came on air and asked every Indian to skip at least one meal in a week.
Let us flip the move suggested by Shastriji. In the national interest, we have to consume more. Consume stuff that will reverse this vicious cycle. There is a visible slowdown and it appears to be a fairly long one.
At an individual level, we can also distribute Parle G biscuits to any one who would take it. Maybe in schools, tea shops, traffic signals anywhere. Smallest packets are available for as little as Rs 2.
I have no business or commercial interest in Parle. According to me, Parle G biscuits are one of the smallest unit of consumption by an average Indian. If that consumption cycle is changed through collective effort rather than looking up to the government for everything, we have done our bit.
If you think it is an idea worth doing, please share in your networks. If you think this is bizarre, then please write in your comments.
(G Mohan is based in Hyderabad and is a keen quizzer)
Categories: Guest Column