If you are an Indian, you must have come across the name ‘Haldiram’ while doing grocery shopping.
This Indian brand with more than 70 products in its portfolio is present in almost all stores in India. It is the perfect snack Indians prefer while sipping a hot tea or coffee. This billion-dollar business was started as a small shop in Bikaner, Rajasthan. It currently exports its products to more than 80 countries worldwide. Let’s have a look at the inspiring story of Haldiram which surpassed all foreign products to find a foothold in the Indian market.
The success story of Haldiram is incomplete without three names – Ganga Bishan Agarwal, Shiv Kishan Agarwal, and Manohar Lal Agarwal. These three have shaped the brand we see today.
Haldiram started its business selling the delicious Bhujia in 1937. Ganga Bishan Agarwal, who was fondly called Haldiram, established the business. He belonged to the Marwari family. Before starting his own venture, Ganga Bishan used to work in his father’s shop that sold bhujia, a best-selling product. Back then, all bhujia in the market tasted the same. To make bhujia unique, he experimented with its ingredients. After many failed attempts, he succeeded in creating his signature bhuija which turned out to be a hit. Ganga’s bhujia made of moth beans instead of gram flour was crispier and tastier. He sold it at a rate of 5 paise per kg instead of the normal 2 paise per kg. Moreover, as a marketing strategy, he set his bhujia’s name to Dongar Sev, Bikaner’s king. This eventually made Haldiram a premium product.
Fast forward to the 1960s, a time when the Agarwal family was divided into three. Each opted to live in the city of Bikaner, Kolkata, and Nagpur. Although the business in Bikaner and Kolkata was running well, the venture led by Shiv Kishan Agarwal in Nagpur suffered. This made him think. He conducted a market survey in Maharashtra and realised that people there were not aware of different types of snacks, including sweets. Kishan found an opportunity in crisis and launched his favourite ‘Kaju Katli’ in the Nagpur market. First, to attain people’s attention, he distributed free samples. People loved the taste. Kishan introduced varieties of sweets that were prevalent in Bikaner and Kolkata. The sales shot by 400 per cent in three years. He also started a South Indian restaurant to attract more customers as people in Nagpur liked South Indian dishes such as Idli and Dosa. Over time, he started adding more snacks.
It was Manohar Lal Agrawal, the current chairman of Haldiram, who made the brand one of a kind. He expanded the business and made Haldiram available in every nook and corner of India. He also brought about a new package for the snacks. He introduced modern-day packing methods such as zip pouches, standee pouches, and four-layer structure flexible packaging. This let Haldiram stand out. Haldiram also employed innovative marketing strategies such as collaborating with the Bollywood movie ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’. It launched a contest in the backdrop of the movie and distributed 1.5 crore packets of snacks.