Though the festival of lights - Diwali is synonymous with sweets, but fear of spurious ingredients being used in their preparation to meet the festive demand is keeping consumers at bay, a just-concluded analysis by apex industry body ASSOCHAM has said.
"If trends are anything to go by, there is a considerable rise of about 30 per cent in demand for assorted cookies, low-cal premium biscuits and bakery products this Diwali as consumers shift away from sweets amid fears of adulteration," noted a sector specific analysis aimed at asserting prevailing market trends this Diwali conducted by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
"The Rs 25,000 crore worth biscuit industry in India is making merry this festive season and its business is likely to grow by leaps and bounds this Diwali owing to multiple factors like attractive packaging in different shapes, sizes and flavours, quality control, longer shelf life and others," said Mr Rawat.
"Considering there is an emotional value attached to traditional sweets, branded sweets market is doing a brisk business," he added.
India's traditional sweets market which is worth over Rs 50,000 crore remains largely unorganized and constantly faces threats from rising prices of key raw materials like milk, butter, sugar and dry fruits, therefore, many resort to the use of inferior or adulterated ingredients and in some cases, they may even use chemicals to keep the costs down.
Biscuit hampers are selling like hot cakes and have even surpassed demand for chocolates and fruit juice packs owing to their growing acceptance amid varied Indian palates and are affordable, highlighted the analysis done by the ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation.
ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation had interacted with about 100 leading sweet shops countrywide to enquire about demand for traditional sweets during the festive season in past two weeks.
Majority of sweet shop owners/representatives reported drastic dip in demand for sweets to the extent of about 25-50 per cent.
Most of the sweet shop owners said they have started using more of dry fruits and less of mawa and other dairy products which has increased their costs by about 15-20 per cent.
Many of the traditional sweet shop owners said that considering the growing demand for biscuits/cookies, they have started selling the same under their own brands and are selling other popular biscuit brands to lure customers.
Some of them said there is more demand for branded biscuits compared to chocolates this year.