Markets in east India are growing at a very healthy high double digit, says Future Group. In terms of value, stores under the Group’s food and general merchandise formats Food Bazaar and Big Bazaar in east India are contributing to about 20 per cent of total national sales. “Geographically, against 14 per cent new stores opened all India, around 21 per cent new stores were added only in east India last year, primarily in territories such as Jharkhand and Bihar,” says Manish Agarwal, head, East Zone, Future Group.
“North east, Bihar, Jharkhand and upcountry cities like Patna, Jamshedpur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar have been showing higher mature store growths for us. New small cities of Rourkela, Jharsugda, Bokaro are showing good trends. State capitals as well as tier II and III are very encouraging,” he adds.
With respect to consumption trends, Agarwal notes that trends display higher receptivity to smaller packs and upgrade categories. Mature store growth for categories like breakfast cereals, canned foods, frozen food and UHT milk is higher than national average, he points out. “Categories like dry fruits, spices and flours along with breakfast cereal, canned foods, Frozen non-veg food, UHT milk and dairy products are showing exceptionally high contribution for east as compared to rest of India.”
In Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa, there has been an increase in the acceptability of newer food concepts (organic, premium quality staples), according to Agarwal.
Having said that, Agarwal also refers to the challenges for modern food trade businesses in east India. “Large parts of east India continue to be under-served by modern trade. Supplies happen through delivery centres or through direct supplies; both need a very strong basic infrastructure — roads, and overall supply chain facilities like vehicles to traverse the far east terrain,” he says.
“FMCG brands needs to boost their supply chain and distribution network if we want penetrate the full potential of modern trade in east India,” he concludes.