There may not be a single Indian who hasn’t heard of Parle; from its beginning in 1939, it has become an indispensable part of the everyday life of most Indians. 400 million Parle-G biscuits are produced daily and According to an estimation, every second, over 4500 people enjoy a Parle-G biscuit, originally known as Parle Gluco.
Parle-G was the first FMCG brand in India to reach Rs. 5000 crore mark in retail sales in 2013. It was also listed #29 in the Brand Trust Report India’s Food & Beverage category in the year 2019.
Parle-G now has over 130 factories and is sold in over 5 million retail outlets throughout India. Every month, Parle-G manufactures about a billion packs of biscuits. Parle-G is available in the most distant of places. Certainly, a mass-market item.
THE EMERGENCE OF PARLE
Under the British Raj, foreign goods were marketed at exorbitant prices across the Indian market. At the time, candy was a huge hit.
The founder of the Parle firm, Mohan Lal Dayal, was not pleased with this and was heavily inspired by the Swadeshi movement. To combat this trend, he chose to begin manufacturing candy domestically. To accomplish this, he flew to Germany to acquire the skills to manufacture candies and later returned to India in 1929 with a candy-making machine that cost Rs 60,000 at the time. He began his business in Mumbai, where he acquired an old factory located between Irla and Parla. The factory got named after the location where it all began. The company began with just 12 employees, all of whom were family members.
Parle’s very first product was The Iconic orange candy, and from there they expanded into confectioneries and toffees. After a decade later, in 1939, the ‘Parle Gluco’ biscuit, an economical biscuit intended for the general public, was introduced. So that Indian people can afford and enjoy delicious candies with their families.
Under British rule, Biscuits were a high-end product, enjoyed primarily by Britishers and upper-class Indians, with the majority of them being imported into the country. The market was dominated by British brands such as United Biscuits, Huntly & Palmers, Britannia, and Glaxo. These were imported and expensive.
The wheat-based biscuit was reasonably priced, and it was readily available to the majority of Indians. Produced by the Indians for the Indians, Parle-G was India’s response to the British-made biscuits and became the British-Indian Army’s go-to cookie during World War II. The Parle Gluco cookie became immensely popular and it swiftly took over the market. All British businesses began to lose money at that point. Parle also made India’s first salted cracker, Monaco, in the early 1940s.
Due to a shortage of wheat, one of Parle’s primary ingredients, following Partition in 1947, the company had to halt production of Parle Gluco & they instead began making and selling barley biscuits.
THE FOREVER ICONIC PACKAGING
Over time, more and more brands featuring the words “gluco” or “glucose” in their names began to appear on the market. Britannia also introduced the ‘Glucose D’ biscuits. In the 1980s, Parle Gluco changed its name to ‘Parle-G’ and released a new box with white and yellow stripes and an illustration of the ‘Parle-G Girl’ to maintain its sales and stand out in the marketplace to consumers. Over time, more and more brands featuring the words “gluco” or “glucose” in their names began to appear on the market. Britannia also introduced the ‘Glucose D’ biscuits. In the 1980s, Parle Gluco changed its name to ‘Parle-G’ and released a new box with white and yellow stripes and an illustration of the ‘Parle-G Girl’ to maintain its sales and stand out in the marketplace to consumers. The packaging became legendary & is still recognized by Indians today.
Parle also debuted their first TV commercial for Parle-G in 1982 on Doordarshan, with the catchphrase “Swaad Bhare, Shakti Bhare, Parle-G.” Shatkimaan, the public’s beloved superhero at the period, accepted to do a commercial for Parle-G in 1998.
Changed to “Genius” in the early 2000s, the “G” in Parle-G stood originally for “Glucose”. As per figures from 2009-10, Parle-G’s sales outstripped the combined sales of all other biscuit brands in China, the world’s fourth-largest biscuit-consuming country. As shown in a 2011 Nielsen survey, Parle-G had eclipsed Cadbury as the best-selling biscuit brand in the world.
Parle will forever remain Iconic, for why it started, for whom it started and for what it has provided to the people of country. A happy part of every Indian’s childhood, it will continue to remain an integral part of everyone’s chai time.