BENGALURU: Grocery bills have ballooned as home consumption rises and consumers buy larger packs of FMCG products.
The bill sizes had almost doubled in March, when the lockdown started, but they remain significantly higher than in the pre-coronavirus days. Industry executives say they may remain high for some time as concepts of hygiene and cook-at-home have become important.
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Devendra Chawla, CEO of Spencer’s Retail and Nature’s Basket, said the bill size is 1.5 times now compared to pre-Covid times. When the lockdown started it was even more because people were worried about stores running out of stocks.
Prem Kumar, CEO of retail-tech startup Snapbizz, which analyses consumer data at more than a million kirana stores, said the median basket which was around Rs 650 in the first week of March shot up to about Rs 1,000 in the first week of April, and is now at about Rs 900.
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Consumers are buying bigger packs of products such as biscuits, noodles, snacking products, hand-wash products, antiseptics, as also pulses, grains and sugar.
High growth in large packs of snacks
“In biscuits and noodles, we have seen a higher growth in larger pack sizes, probably driven by reduced trips to the market and hence larger buying on every trip. It’s also driven by shops having limited opening times,” Hemant Malik, divisional CEO of ITC Foods, said.
Arvind Mediratta, managing director & CEO of Metro Cash & Carry India, said people usually bought Maggi noodles in packs of 4-6 from their wholesale stores, but now they have been purchasing packs of 24. The latter are actually meant for hotels. “This trend is also visible in biscuits, pasta, flour and lentils as people stay at home and consume more,” he said.
Greendots Health Foods, which sells nacho crisps and taco shells under the brand Cornitos, has pack sizes for nachos of Rs 20, Rs 35 and Rs 85. Since the lockdown, the Rs 35 pack is moving faster off the shelves than the Rs 20 one, said managing director Vikram Agarwal.
As snacking and munching go up, so has demand for larger bottles of cold beverages. Future Group, which runs Nilgiri’s, Big Bazaar and Easy Day stores, said it has seen a spike in demand for 1.25-litre and 2-litre bottles compared to the 500 ml and 750 ml ones. “Besides this, the sale of larger oil cans of 5 litres and containers of 1 kg ghee have also gone up as people are making sweets and cakes while staying at home,” the company added.