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Look back in times

Haldiram- The Bhujia king!! The name itself beckons quality snacks. From a nascent Indian startup to a world-known Company, the journey wasn’t an easy one. Shri Ganga Bhishen Agarwal, the founder of Haldiram, started his journey with an investment of Rs.100 in 1937 now owns an empire of more than Rs.5000 crore as per the records of 2018.  Now here’s the journey of a thousand miles that the company has covered.

Foundation of Haldiram

It was Ganga Bhishen Agarwal, the Bhujia king, also known as Haldiram Agarwal, at the age of 12 with the support of his wife started a small shop in 1937 in, Bikaner, Rajasthan, where he used to sell bhujia. His grandfather, Tansukhdas, had started the bhujia making tradition but it was Haldiram who carried it forward and made a name for himself. In 1941, his son, Rameshwar Lal, used the title ‘Haldiram’s Bhujiawala’ for the first time while setting up a shop in Kolkata. In 1968, he also set up a manufacturing unit for sweets and snacks. He then went on to register the name as a trademark in 1972, which led to some disputes in the family as his brothers, Moolchand and Shiv Kishan had opened units with the same name (Haldiram’s) in Delhi and Nagpur, respectively.

In the 1990s, the company came to be divided between three distinct areas of operations with Delhi-based Haldiram Snacks and Ethnic Foods in the northern region, Nagpur-based Haldiram Foods International in western and southern regions and a much smaller Kolkata-based Haldiram Bhujiawala in the eastern region. Not many people know there are three different entities operating in different geographical locations under the same name.

Despite this, each unit claims there is a difference in the quality of products. All three have a tremendous presence in the international markets including the countries like The United States, Canada, United Kingdom, UAE, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The journey of Haldiram which started even before independence is so widely spread now that the festivals are incomplete without the sweets and snacks of Haldiram. It rules in almost every household. Not only the kids but also the adults are found munching on the irresistible taste of bhujia at all hours of the day. The morning tea or the evening snack is imperfect without a bowl of bhujia and other namkeens. The Haldiram anthem stands absolutely correct- Haldiram hai hum, hum vishwas hai. Tyoharo ki hai rounak, har ghar hi shaan hai.

Insights into revenue

Haldiram does not rule only over sweets and snacks, it has now come up with many restaurants in India serving the last variety of food items. As per the records, on an average, the restaurant chain uses up to 3.8 billion litres of milk, 80 million kilograms of butter, 62 million kilograms of potato and 60 million kilograms of pure ghee each year.

The revenue of Haldiram, as mentioned above, is almost Rs.5000 crores which are even more than the revenues of the very reputed and lovable American brands Domino’s and McDonald’s put together. The journey which started back in 1937 with bhujia has reached billions now and will continue to do so. Thus, without any doubts, one can say Haldirams is india Bhujia King.

One thing that is special about this brand is that it does minimal advertising and promotion because of the quality of its products and well-known brand name. Without any fuss and noise, unlike Baba Ramdev, they have managed to get the better of multinational instant food giants.

Haldiram in the snacks segment as country's largest

Pravitra Kumar, who has “always been a huge fan of the moong dal namkeen“, wrote Bhujia Barons (Penguin; Rs.399) after conducting careful research and interviews. “It took about a year and a half to conduct all the interviews, go through research, transcribe conversations and then actually write the book. Sources were basically various family members themselves as well as friends and acquaintances. Newspaper reports were used to add details of past events,” she adds. Writing the book gave her an insight into the Haldiram brand that no other outsider had previously been privy to.

Also read: Why Dunkin Donuts Failed in India

Challenges for Haldiram

Every coin has two sides. Haldiram has faced its set of challenges and struggles. Following the domestic ban on Maggi, in 2015, US food regulatory authority, FDA banned a number of snacks and food products made by Haldiram’s. The US FDA is reported to have found food pesticides and bacteria in high levels in these foods and marked them unsafe for sale in the US. Later in September 2015, India’s FDA from the state of Maharashtra undertook numerous tests on the products and gave the company a clean chit.

Growing past these challenges, Haldiram’s is looking for newer tie-ups and avenues for growth. In some states, the company has tied up with Indian Railways to cater to food on long-distance trains.

Apart from facing many challenges, the bhujia king, Haldiram still stands to be best for sweets and snacks. Currently, the group owns and operates 50 outlets – both restaurants and retail outlets – in 11 cities in five states across North India. Crafted over decades of hard work, the Haldiram brand is out of the most well-known company not only in India but also in the whole world.