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NEW DELHI: Packaged foods company Parle Products on Monday announced its entry into the branded wheat flour market with the launch of ‘Parle G Chakki Atta’ that will compete with ITC's Aashirvaad flour brand.

The maker of Parle-G biscuits will roll out the branded flour brand in north and west India and sell it under three stock-keeping units, the company said in a statement.

Parle-G is the largest selling biscuit brand in India. The company, set up in 1929, also sells snacks and confectioneries in the country.

Essentials such as rice, flour, cooking oil, pulses have benefitted from a surge in in-home cooking over the past year.

“Branded atta segment has gained momentum since the pandemic outbreak. With movement restrictions in place, Parle’s venture into the new category is in the lines of being agile on marketing strategies while also capitalizing on hygiene and convenience factors that have become a priority in today’s environment," the company said.

Parle will sell the product in both urban and rural markets.

It also helps that the Parle brand has immense recall among millions of households in India. Parle topped the 2020 Brand Footprint rankings study put together by Kantar. These rankings are based on Consumer Reach Points (CRPs)—which are the product of the number of households buying a brand and the times they bought it. In the 2020 ranking, Parle had the highest CRP (million) at 6029 with a 12 percent increase from the previous ranking. In 2018 alone, Parle added 12 million households.

It also helps that the wheat flour market is largely unbranded. Small, local mills service demand for the flour used almost daily by millions of Indian households. ITC Ltd., which sells flour under the Aashirvaad brand, has benefitted significantly from the consumer switch from unbranded to branded wheat flour.

In fact, retail sales of the Aashirvaad brand crossed 6,000 crore in FY20, the company said in its annual report for the year.

"Branded wheat flour is one of the largest segments in the foods industry and the majority of the demand is currently being met by local mills or neighborhood chakkis," Mayank Shah, senior category head, Parle Products said.

Shah added that the pandemic has accelerated the need for hygienically ground wheat flour. This, he said, is driving consumers in India’s tier-2 and tier-3 cities to switch to branded flour.

“We aim to reach the remotest household in the country to provide hygienically ground atta and help consumers switch to healthy options," he added.

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