Indian multinational food processing company Parle is looking at entering the Middle East market for its premium biscuit brand Platina. The company sees the market demographics in the Middle East favorable for its premium products.
HS Sareen, Parle International Business Vice President, said many local consumers in the GCC are showing a preference for premium brands like Platina, and there is no doubt that they have more of the spending power in order to go for more premium items. He believes this is a very good market for premium products with higher-value ingredients used for the chocolate, the cream, the wheat, and so on as this is what they will look for.
“There is also of course a higher demand for healthier segments like gluten-free as well, but from what we are seeing in the biscuits segment here, there are still considered more of a niche segment.”
Sareen pointed out that it all comes down to taste, with many consumers looking to biscuits and cookies for their indulgent consumption experience. “We definitely are still seeing the biscuits that fall under the sweet segment, and those that have cream filling being more popular. Parle does have healthier-focused items such as Nutricrunch, which is a digestive range with a focus on fibre, minerals and vitamins, but the current demand is still for regular products.”
The executive explained that even under the premium range, Parle has developed a wide variety of different offerings, like Hide&Seek Chocolate Chip cookies with higher-value chocolate chips and the Hide&Seek Milano centre-filled cookies, Crème Sandwiches and Black Bourbon ranges, all of which offer different indulgent consumption experiences.
Sareen acknowledged that Middle Eastern markets and especially Dubai have been the centre of focus for many Indian food and beverage brands. More and more brands are keen to set up and expand stable export relationships in the region.