Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Bhujia Barons

Bhujia Barons is a book on the Haldirams story. Haldirams is among the foremost name in Indian friend snacks and has made a name for itself in the past few years. Prior to Haldirams, there were no major nationwide 'namkeen' brands in India - and it was mostly serviced by local small businesses.

Perhaps it is timing or their marketing astuteness they were ready when the Indian supermarket boom happened. It is not that they were the first snacks in the market, but they have created a category for themselves and are a leader of the snacks market in India. And their entry and success have prompted many a small and big player into the traditional snack market in India. They created a market which not many people realised existed - right under their noses.

What I liked about the story was, about the founder was just one of the snack makers in Bikaner - a place which, now, like then was a place for traditional namkeens. The story of many other namkeen makers would not have been very different. The market was an undifferentiated market - with every shop like every other shop - give or take a few.

It was the risk taking ability of one such person - their ability to start with a small differentiation - and then build on it over time - sustain the advantage - take risk - dont rest on laurels and so on.

The story is worth reading just to know how they got there - and it was not an easy journey for them - even without the family troubles they went through.

The book slacks at certain points and the narrative does flag with what I thought were unimportant points, but overall it still holds as a good story to be read.

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