After several years of impressive growth, India’s FMCG category registered a downturn in 2018, latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel show – but branded products appear to be faring well.

Category sales volume dipped by 1.14%, in contrast to the 7.54% growth seen in 2017, the research firm reported.

It tracks household consumption across multiple categories and includes both branded and unorganised products. Latest data indicates that branded products saw double-digit growth last year, with the associated implication that it is the unbranded part of the market that has been hardest hit.

With the food and beverage segment accounting for around 70% of the volume of products covered, it is here that some of the most obvious shifts in consumption are taking place.

Some segments of the category have seen growth slow dramatically: salty snacks, for example, went from 14.99% volume growth in 2017 to 2.26% in 2018; spices declined from 10.81% to 1.23% over the same period.

However, the overall figure was disproportionately hit by the performance of one segment in particular. “Much of this has to do with the underwhelming performance of the atta and wheat category as volumes plummeted over 2%,” said K Ramakrishnan, general manager at Kantar Worldpanel, South Asia, in contrast to volume growth of 9.84% in 2017.

“On a very large base, this is highly impactful,” he told the Economic Times.

At the same time, branding appears to be gaining ground in in this segment, according to one producer. “There is a rising trend of people becoming increasingly health conscious, which is reflected in lifestyle changes,” said Hemant Malik, divisional chief executive, foods, at ITC Ltd.

“Aashirvaad has been a category creator and has enabled a shift in consumer preference towards branded packaged atta,” he claimed.

It remains the case, however, that branded products account for less than 10% of the overall consumption of staples such as dairy, rice and wheat.

Sourced from Economic Times; additional content by WARC staff