“The demand in July was higher by about 50% over the previous month. We expect that the consumption of staples will surely be better in August and September,” said Angshu Mallick, CEO of Adani Wilmar which sells cooking oils under the Fortune brand, besides rice, sugar and other food products.
“Across the country, retail stores have started stocking goods following the easing of Covid restrictions, as in these two months, year-on-year sales of staples are expected to increase by 10-15%,” said Mallick.
Food retail and wholesale companies also expect rural demand to revive as worries over the prolonged break in rainfall in June and July have now faded due to the revival of monsoon rains.
“After the worries about the break in monsoon, now the rural market is back in action as the monsoon has revived,” Adani Wilmar’s Mallick said. “The supply chain is intact without any disruptions, while the demand at the retail outlets has significantly improved. Sales are likely to expand and be higher by 10% to 15% over the same period of the previous year.”
At Mumbai’s wholesale market at Vashi, the big, organised retailers have already started taking positions.
“We expect an increase of 10% to 20% in the sales of groceries during the upcoming festival season. All the major organised retail chains have already taken positions,” said Nilesh Veera, director (grains), APMC ((Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee) Vashi. “Though the institutional and out-of-home consumption has not recovered fully yet, we expect consumer demand to increase during the festivals. Inflationary pressure in edible oils can be a factor to monitor.”
Inflationary pressure on some food commodities is a cause of concern. Yet, the trade is optimistic. “On the front of prices, edible oil prices are presently ruling at their peak and doesn’t look like there will be any further increase from here, while prices of other major staples have been stable for some time now,” said Mallick of Adani Wilmar.
Among pulses, traders expect more demand for besan, which is used for making sweets and savouries. “Though the prices of tur dal may increase in August, there are enough supplies of chana dal,” said Veera.
Amul, the country’s largest dairy brand owned by Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), registered 17% growth in sales in the first four months of the current fiscal, higher than the corresponding period of 2019.
“We have registered 16% to 17% growth in all the products, including ice-creams and other beverages, during April to July. Milk was the only food product that did not have much inflationary pressure, as prices increased by only 4% during the past one year and nine months. About 6% of the institutional sales, which is about half of the pre-Covid level, is already back,” RS Sodhi, managing director of GCMMF.
“Now that metro cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru and Pune are opening, we expect the sales to increase 20% year-on-year during August and September,” he said. “During festivities, people consume everything, be it paneer, milk, cheese, butter, or ghee.”