Parle-G, COVID-19 & the Migrants returning Home

The name Parle-G instantly takes us down the memory lane of our childhood. Generations across India happily remember dunking the yellowish-brown rectangular biscuit in hot tea, milk, or even water and the ease with which it used to soften and release its taste. Perhaps a little delay in pulling it out led to the sinking of our favourite ship into the cup and towards the end, inserting our tiny fingers or spoons to fish out the soft tasty mass at the bottom. Parle-G knew no barriers of religion, caste, gender, age, or even the rich and the poor. The humble biscuit brought the same smile on every individual’s face with its earth-shattering price of 4₹ for a normal-sized pack and 2₹ for a smaller pack.

 

Started in 1939, Parle-G still holds its original value across rural India even after eight long decades. The omnipresent biscuit serves as a pacifier for the crying children and as a lifesaver being carried in every Indian’s bag during travel. Over the long course of time, it has become a part of every Indian’s day to day life. Competitors kept coming, however, the iconic Parle-G didn’t lose its perceived value in the minds of the people and still has an enormous list of loyal consumers throughout the country.

 

Though the company faced some wrath during August 2019 due to the economic downturn leading to falling sales and gradual shunning by the new age health-conscious, organic loving, sugar-free generation. However, most analysts forgot who the real consumers are; one of the biggest chunks of India, the BOP (Bottom of the Pyramid) consumers who are still steady and loyal with the brand.

 

Shocking the industry experts, Parle-G made quite some headlines this Tuesday with record sales during the entire lockdown, throughout March, April, May. Does this mean that people turn to biscuits during times of crisis? The answer might not be a simple yes or not. It’s a bit complicated!

 

With the virus batting hard every day, the government was forced to extend the lockdown in various installments. The pandemic led to shutting down factories, small businesses, and all the activities and thus, took a heavy toll on the daily wage labourers, mostly migrants from other states, running their already torn pockets dry and stomachs empty. With no other way out, these migrant labourers started one of the most heartbreaking and gruesome journeys back home, hundreds of miles, bare-foot, on bicycles, trucks, hiding in containers, and finally trains, bringing back the memories of the partition of India. Amidst these times, Parle-G biscuits stood out to be one true life companion of these migrant labourers on their way home. No matter the form of luggage they carried, the biscuit pack made it into every baggage as a source of hunger quencher, glucose booster, lifesaver, affordable food. 

 

Mayank Shah, category head of Parle states that huge increase in demand and consumption was due to the lockdown which led to excessive hoarding of packaged items by households. According to him, pantry-hoarding happened since biscuits have a fairly long shelf life and thus leading to panic-buying beyond their usual needs. Moreover, sales amongst migrant labourers and the good Samaritans buying Parle-G to be distributed to the needy along the roads, by-passers and localities contributed to a huge boost in sales.

 

No matter how difficult the situation is, Parle-G has stood firmly with and for the people, scoring strongly in the classic Marketing Mix of 4P’s, great Product, affordable Price, omnipresent availability, strong Promotion, and also Emotional Marketing in disguise. Catering to people who couldn’t afford food and to those who baked a cake using it, Parle-G as a brand reminded everyone of the true spirit of unity and helped the company boost its sales even during the worst economic times. Thus, in the end, it is a win-win for all.

 

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Angad Kenghe13 Posts

Versatile and Analytic Individual, Self-confessed Movies/Series/Reading Buff, Quiz and Automotive aficionado, a humble Content contributor.

Shradha Singh

An Outspoken and extrovert management student who loves to make new friends. A passionate and hardworking graphic designer with a creative mind. Loves to travel , who loves Food and is highly interested in arts and craft.

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