Vile Parle’s pride “Parle-G”- A brief history.

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Background

Parle-G is a known brand to millions now in India as its factory is established in the suburb of Mumbai since 1929. The founder of this Parle factory are Chauhan family and factory headquarters is in Vile Parle (east), Mumbai, Maharashtra (the factory has been closed recently due to increased costs of transportation). They started manufacturing biscuits from 1939. People were unable to buy British biscuits because of its high cost, then Parle factory came into market with its low price Glucose biscuit. According to top writer Nikhil Patel, earlier the biscuits were wrapped in wax paper unlike today’s plastic paper. After India gained independence in 1947, parle company started campaigning Parle biscuits in competition to the British biscuit called  Jacob’s biscuit from UK in 1929. Parle G biscuit stands out from other products of Parle also because of its friendly prising.

How parle-G name came into existence?

Founder coming from Gujarat community, Parle-G’s name first came from founder’s family. They started calling the biscuits as Parle, as Parle means suburb in Gujarati language. As the biscuit had sweet taste of Glucose in it, people started calling biscuits as Parle Gluco. After seeing the success rate of Parle biscuits, other biscuit companies in the market started coping Parle companies idea. To avoid confusion in the market, Parle owners changed its product’s name to Parle-G from Parle Gluco.

Parle-G gaining popularity

According to a recent report by Nielsen, article by Sagar Malviya on 24th june 2015; Parle-G topped the sales chart among other food companies in India during 2014-15, where, Britannia and Mondelez shared the second spot with Rs. 6,800 crores of revenue. Parle G’s sales had exceeded Rs. 8,300 crores according to the report. Parel G had hit the success rate wit 29% shares in the biscuit category plus sates going up by 5000 crores during that period. Under non-food category, HUL was doing great with sales of Rs. 25,400 crore nearly thrice compared to their rival company, P&G, who registered their sales with Rs. 8,600 crore.

In food category Parle company topped with growth of 3.1% (with revenue of 8,300 crore)  and least was Frito-lay India with growth of 1.7%.

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Sustainability of Parle G in the current scnerio

One of the old and trusted brand has grown successfully since 1929. Parle had strong hold in terms of revenue with two rivals; Britannia and Mondelez. At present, consumers have choice in the market with other glucose biscuits like, Oats, ragi cookies, digestive and milky biscuits in the market. Executive director of Parle Products, Ajay Chauhan, is aware of this situation. So, does Mr. Chauhan can still maintain the dominant position in the market?

Industry estimates the biscuit market share worth Rs. 15000 crore till September 2012 with glucose accounting for 30% of this segment. Glucose category has not launched much products compared to other cream or cookies category. Parle G had launched Parle G- Gold in May 2012, a premium glucose biscuit which was much heavier than the original one.

Preeti Chamikutty mentions few Parle G facts in her article published on Jan 16,2013. According to her;

400 million Parle G biscuits are produced daily, 1 billion packes of Parle-G are produced monthly, Parle G are sold in more than 500 retail stores, 4,551 Parle-G biscuits are consumed per second, if all Parle G biscuits consumed annually are put end-to-end; they would cover the earth’s circumference 192 times, Parle G sells more biscuits compared to China biscuit market, Parle G’s pricing remained unchanged even in 2000’s.

Basic question at present is, will the present youth from the population still go for Parle-G biscuit even today? In my opinion, if somebody is price sensitive, they will still stick on to Rs.5 Parle-G, which is filling and of course Mumbaikars should not give up on them for a reason :).

The Post-truth Yellow Effect

Remember the game Chinese Whisper, aka broken telephone? It’s a game popular amongst school children where they form a line and pass a phrase to the last person in the line who then expose the phrase. Usually, the phrase distorts into a misleading jumble of words. Well, take that and turn it into the phenomena called as the Fake News.

Broadly, fake news circulated through social media is categorized as fallacious information with aggrandized headlines or a mix of true events and incorrect facts.

There is a sudden brouhaha about the perilous nature of fake news, especially after November 8th when Donald Trump became the 45th President of America. This stunning revelation is unbelievable but the notion of fake news is not. Also Known as News Satire, there are numerous genuine fake news websites and magazines meant as a parody for entertaining the people. But recently, the mainstream media is inundated with the Facebook, Twitter, and Google being demonized for the algorithm-based dissemination of fake news. This creates the problem of segregating facts from fiction.

However, the United States of America is not new to the fake news phenomena.

What started as a rivalry between two leading New York newspaper publisher, Joseph Pulitzer, and William Randolph Hearst, resulted in a term known as Yellow Journalism. The Yellow journalism in the late 19th century was an era of sensational, scandal-mongering and unethical publishing of news to increase the circulation of newspapers and readership. The term Yellow journalism was derived from the cartoon character “the yellow kid” illustrated by the cartoonist Richard F. Outcault.

Though sensationalized and fake news has a history since 1790’s, the few involved in the fake news phenomenon in social media today call themselves the new yellow journalists.

Pulitzer’s newspaper the New York World had gained popularity because of the yellow cartoon strips, but when Hearst entered the publishing business with his New York Journal, he enticed Outcault with greater pay. This turning point intensified the competition between the two major newspapers. However, the main game changer was the Spanish-American War in 1898. Yellow journalism acted as a catalyst in the conflict between Spain and America. America soon became involved in the cause of Cuban struggle for independence as the major newspapers covered fabricated stories to foment sympathy for the Cuban rebels.

By this time Hearst and Pulitzer had garnered popularity, fame, and money. Their thriving business got another boost with the sinking of Maine, a US battleship in Havana harbor. The competition that was soon taken over by Hearst’s New York Journal published rumors of Spanish hand in the incident. The exaggerated false claims eventually led to the war.

It is hard to deny that social media has come to play a greater role in our lives. According to the website The Statistical Portal, Facebook is the most popular social network worldwide with 1.79 billion monthly active users. Lately, these alleged yellow journalists ran sites like Lifezette, LibertyWritersNews.com, Conservative Tribune and others on Facebook.

With unbound information just one click away, it is not lack of knowledge but the lack of informed knowledge that needs consideration. The generation of “like, share and comment” typically prefers to read their daily news on social media. But instead of challenging the biases of people by providing different perspectives on similar issues, the social media news feed are designed to produce what people would want to see based on their opinions. Although Facebook and Google have employed measures to check misleading news, it is indispensable to discern between real and fake news. The only way is to review the news from credible sources.

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them” ~Galileo Galilei.