Reliance Retail partners with over 50 traditional confectionery manufacturers | Techno Glob

Reliance Retail, the retail arm of Reliance Industries (RIL) conglomerate headed by Mukesh Ambani, has entered into a distribution partnership with more than 50 regional traditional (mithai) confectionery manufacturers across India to distribute, mass produce , modernize packaging and develop traditional Indian confectionery with extended shelf life.

These packaged mithais such as laddos, barfis and pedas, which are positioned to compete with chocolate brands such as Cadbury and KitKat, are already placed in all Reliance grocery stores such as Smart Bazaar, Smart and other formats of grocery store, in addition to Reliance Retail’s e-commerce platform JioMart.

Damodar Mall, general manager of grocery retail at Reliance Retail, confirmed the developments. “We want to democratize traditional sweets and not relegate a particular variety to one region,” he told ET, adding that the company wants to take the consumption of traditional sweets beyond seasonal opportunities.

The scaling coincides with India’s peak holiday season, followed by wedding season, with manufacturers of discretionary products, including those selling gourmet foods, reporting double-digit increases in sales.

Mall said Reliance Retail is advancing partnerships with traditional candy makers with individual consumer packs as well. “We are also developing single-serve packs of these mithais that will be placed in kirana stores as the business grows,” he said.

In its grocery stores, Reliance Retail has created several stand-alone bays and units for traditional candies, similar to what modern commercial stores do for chocolate and confectionery brands. The partnerships so far have resulted in more than 500 packs and around 100 varieties of traditional sweets, and the company is looking to partner with more local players.

Some of the regional sweets makers Reliance Retail has partnered with are Doodh Misthan Bhandar from Jaipur, Lal Sweets in Mysore, Prabhuji & Bhikharam Chandmal in West Bengal and Chawannilal Halwai from Ajmer.

The retail giant is expanding partnerships with more such players and has made internal projections for sales to outsell chocolates by 10 times, according to an executive with direct knowledge of the developments. Still, competing with packaged chocolate makers backed by heavy marketing budgets and retail clout will be tough, analysts said.

Reliance Retail believes that these partnerships help small local confectionery manufacturers to scale. “We provide them with access to the distribution network, technical know-how, modern packaging and develop their products for extended shelf life,” Mall said.

The Indian chocolate market reached a value of US$2.2 billion in 2021 and is among the fastest growing chocolate markets in the world, research firm IMARC Group said in a report. The researcher predicts that the Indian chocolate market will reach US$3.8 billion by 2027. Cadbury and 5-star manufacturer Mondelez lead the category, with other major players being Nestlé, which makes KitKat and Munch, Mars Wrigley, which makes Galaxy, Snickers and Twix. , and Ferrero.

The traditional confectionery market, on the other hand, remains largely unorganized, with hundreds of specialized local players.

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