The Indian Kitchen Salt Market - Brand Wars

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG044
Case Length : 10 Pages
Period : 1991 - 2002
Pub Date : 2003
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Kuwar Ajay Group of Industries, HLL, Tata Group
Industry : FMCG
Countries : India

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Introduction Contd...

The 5 million tonne Indian branded table salt market was witnessing tough competition in the early 21st century. For decades Tata Salt had remained the undisputed market leader followed closely by Annapurna.

But in the late 1990's many new players entered the market. Though the unorganized sector accounted for a major part of the market, the trend of small brands such as Dandi making it big was catching up.

Media reports claimed that new players like Dandi could give Tata Salt and Annapurna a tough time. (They held 37% and 35% of the market share respectively).

Background Note

In India, salt is produced mainly in the costal regions of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and West Bengal using seawater, and in Rajasthan, using lake water. The market can be broadly classified into the branded and unbranded sectors.

In the 1980s, the Indian salt market (both organized and unorganized) was estimated to be about 5 million tonnes per annum and was valued at Rs 5 billion. Salt penetration in India is estimated to be 93.8% (96.8% in urban areas and 92.7% in rural areas). The highest salt penetration levels were in big towns (98-99% penetration).

Salt offered by the organized sector players can be classified into two broad categories, refined salt and iodized salt. Refined salt contains 95% of sodium chloride and the remaining 5% of other minerals like magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium carbonate, iodine and calcium carbonate.

In India, about 95% of the salt consumed is unrefined, whereas in developed countries only refined salt is consumed. The organized branded salt segment accounted for only 20-30% of the total market; the rest was in the hands of the unorganized sector...

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