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ITC's Sunfeast tops in cream biscuits
The Times of India - 04 Dec 2013

The slugfest for the  numerouno position in the Rs 4,600-crore cream biscuit market has been on for a  while now ever since new entrants like ITC and Cadbury joined the fray. Even as the skirmish continues unabated, with each of the  brands baking fresh strategies, ITC's Sunfeast, for now, has emerged a clear  leader in the segment.
 
For the year ended October 31, 2013, ITC's cream biscuit market share stands at around 25% in value, according to industry  sources who quoted all-India Nielsen numbers. The market share numbers for  Parle Products and Britannia for the same period were under  20%.
 
Exactly a year ago, the three rivals were running a close race with their  respective market shares at about 23%. However, there was no clear leader in  sight then. Sunfeast, it appears, has inched up by capturing market share from  both Britannia and Parle in cream biscuits. Cadbury's Oreo, on the other hand,  has maintained its share of 5-6%.

Chitranjan  Dar, divisional chief executive, foods division, ITC, attributed the company's  gains in cream biscuits to its relentless focus on portfolio enrichment through  innovations like Sunfeast Dark Fantasy Choco Fills and Choco Meltz and Sunfeast  Dream Cream range. "These flavours have created excitement among consumers  and significantly enhanced the consumer franchise of the 'Sunfeast'  brand," said Dar. What's helped in the process is ITC Hotels's marketing  and distribution infrastructure, which Sunfeast has leveraged to stay ahead of  the curve.
 
Britannia Industries, which restaged its cream biscuit brands Bourbon and Jim  Jam along with additional flavours, believes it is seeing significant positive  shifts in the premium cream segment. "In an intensely competitive segment  with high levels of investment, our focused approach is paying dividends,"  a Britannia spokesperson said. Britannia believes the "indulgence  category" is key to its portfolio of both cookies and creams, which  addresses differential consumer preferences.
 
Although a mail sent to Parle Products did not elicit a response till the time  of going into print, the company has collaborated with Warner Bros to introduce  a biscuit range embedded with Tom and Jerry faces. Parle Products believes the  move will strengthen its dominant position in the overall Rs 21,000-crore odd  biscuit market.
 
Industry analysts said the biscuit market has undergone a drastic change in the  last decade. For one, the share of the organized market, which at one point  used to be just about 10%, has gone up significantly to become more than half  of the total size. "The high-end cream biscuit market is even more  organized. Sunfeast was launched at the right time when the organized market was  expanding. This helped the brand to expand rapidly in a market, which was for  years dominated by Britannia and Parle," said ParasBothra, VP, equity  research, Ashika Stock Broking.

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