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Surender Gnanaolivu

Retailing in India: Tasteful Servings of Food and Grocery

How food retailing is evolving for the sophisticated consumer




It is a known fact in India that dialect and food tastes change every 200 miles! Currently, food and groceries are sold from more than 10 million retail outlets and contribute to 50 percent of the overall Indian retail market.

This makes India sixth in the global food and grocery market with a market size of $455 billion USD, and steadily growing at a compounded annual growth rate of about 15 percent, according to India Retailing. Of this, the processed food and grocery segment accounts for 32 percent. The gourmet food market is currently valued at $1.3 billion USD and growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20 percent, reports the Indian Brand Equity Foundation.  In fact, the Indian online food and grocery market alone is estimated to be around $600 million and is projected to reach $5 billion by 2020 – at a CAGR of 72 percent, according to Financial Express.

So what does all this mean? With the consumer demanding omnichannel experiential shopping, leading brick-and-mortar food and grocery retailers have stepped up their game by creating differentiated and enjoyable shopping experiences to attract and retain the new connected consumer. This has led to a strategy of curating a differentiated range of products presented in inspiring environments that transform a chore into a delightful leisure activity of browsing, tasting, learning and experimenting with different cuisines and culinary experiences. Here are few samplings of new benchmarks being set in fine food and grocery shopping in India..

Karachi Bakery

Karachi Bakery, founded by migrant Khanchand Ramnani who left Karachi in 1952, started selling biscuits near Mozamjahi market in Hyderabad. Today it is one of the leading bakery brands in India, famous worldwide for its signature fruit biscuits, dil khush (Hyderabadi traditional sweet) and cakes. Stores offer a wide range of fresh and packaged products that are sold in a hybrid model of a supermarket and a bakery.

To remain relevant and connected to the today’s consumer, the brand contemporized its store experience with a new design. The concept features a combination of bricks, tiles and wood in a modern blend with a traditional palette. Visual merchandising played a vital role in storytelling with a unique ceiling installation of 2000 rolling pins. The concept has been hugely successful in raising the bar of shopping for traditional Indian sweets and confectionery.


Retailing in India: Tasteful Servings of Food and Grocery

Godrej Nature’s Basket

Godrej Nature's Basket, a venture of the 120-year-old Godrej Group, was founded in 2005 as a "world food store." The brand operates 35 physical stores in major Indian cities and is targeting to open 70 more in the next two years. Its physical presence is augmented with an online portal and a mobile app to service customers beyond the store’s catchments. The brand endeavours to redefine the shopping experience of “daily food delights” by curating a distinct offering to cater to the discerning palate of the Indian consumer.

Recently, this experience was redefined in its new store concept in Mumbai with the use of retail design and visual merchandising across 3500 square feet, spread over two levels. The store design taps international lifestyle store design trends to create an experiential shopping environment for fine foods and grocery. A live granary, fresh spices bar, an ice bed for fresh meats, and an exclusive tea and coffee counter are some of the unique elements that add to the experience.

Retailing in India: Tasteful Servings of Food and Grocery



Foodhall, another venture of the Indian retail leader Future Group, addresses the needs of the affluent global Indian connoisseur of gourmet food and groceries in premium markets in the major cities of India. The new concept was designed to encourage customers to touch, smell and feel the international and local ingredients in an aspirational and consultative environment.

Since most of these ingredients are unique, the store design and displays are created to educate customers about the ingredients, as well as experience the way to cook them in master classes hosted by food experts. Recently, the brand reimagined and updated its design concept inspired from the world’s best known gourmet food culture – the French. The stylized, modern and artsy design form and material palette combined with the fine art of food presentation, help craft a setting for tasteful shopping of fine goods and grocery for the food connoisseur.

Retailing in India: Tasteful Servings of Food and Grocery

These tastings of the transformation in fine food and grocery shopping in India clearly demonstrate how discerning retailers have responded to the experience needs of the new age. The benchmarks being set, I am sure the market will make this the new normal in shopping for fine foods and grocery for the connected Indian consumer.

Surender has more than two decades of experience in the Indian retail industry in retail strategy, store design, planning and development, retail marketing, visual merchandising, writing and academia. He’s held senior positions at leading retailers like Shoppers Stop, Reliance Retail, Mahindra Retail and as a senior retail consultant working with leading retailers and brands in India. Reach him at [email protected]




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