Potato Crackers are almost everyone’s favorite snack, from children to older. Bombay Suites in Bangladesh for the first time market with Potato Crackers in the market, the product is very well responded very quickly, and it is one of the most sold snack items in Bangladesh so far. Potato crackers are found in almost every store, from tea stores to mom n pop shops in the village or super shops in the city area. In addition, nearly every food and beverage brand in the country has one or more potato crackers items. The packaging, size, branding, price, and taste of each brand of potato crackers can be seen in many similarities.
On June 5th, 1853, a chef in New York handed George Crum the first Potato Chips unintentionally. A gentleman named Cornelius Vanderbilt came to eat at the restaurant’s chef. He also had an item from Potato Fry in his order. After serving the order, Vanderbilt complained that the fries were thicker and returned it. Crum became very angry about this and cut the potatoes into thin shapes, fried them, and then sent them back to the customer. Basically, from there, potato chips were invented.
However, the potato crackers found in Bangladesh begin their journey mainly through the Potato Crackers of Bombay Sweets. The main difference between potato chips and crackers is that the potato chips are made directly with potatoes. On the other hand, using potatoes in the crackers as the main ingredient is minimal. The main component of potato crackers is potato flakes or processed potato powder, starch, and flour. Hence, potato crackers began to be introduced as an alternative to potato chips.
Currently, the Crackers and Chips Market size in Bangladesh is Tk 650 crore, where Bombay sweet is in the leading position with 50 percent of the market share, and Pran is standing in the second position with 20 percent of the market share. Almost every food and beverage brand in Bangladesh, like Bombay Suites, Pran, BD Food, Meridian, and Sajib has a personalized potato cracker. However, Bombay Suites and Potato Crackers are found in almost all parts of the country and are pretty popular. With different names, Pran itself has multiple potato crackers in the market. So naturally, it may be thought that in a competitive market, why are there so many exciting products, and why are the brands bringing new potato crackers to the market?
Why There are So Many Potato Crackers?
Bombay Sweets Potato Crackers started on the market with crackers, but with the success of these chips, they brought some more variants, such as Mr. Twist, Ring Chips, and Alooz. As well as other brands such as Pran, Meridian, Pepsico, Ruchi, and Kasem Foods, also brought some chips variants to market. However, it’s astonishing that Potato Crackers worth Tk 10 are still one of the best-selling chips in the country and one of the daily snack items in the country. Local food brands have come up with different flavors of chips over time. However, for many people in the country, the test preference for potato crackers still remains in the case of chips. Thus, consumers prefer potato crackers even though the market is flooded with new chips of various flavors.
In the urban areas of Bangladesh, besides the local chips, many imported chips like Lays, and Pringles are also available. As the availability of chips of different flavors has increased and the purchasing power of people has increased, so has the perspective and consumption pattern of urban consumers. At present, about 61.82% of the total population of Bangladesh still lives in remote areas who do not understand the difference between chips and crackers. Moreover, many people know potato crackers as chips. Because when Bombay Suites brought the first packaged chips to the market, the brand had no direct competitors. As a result, potato crackers are the first chips for most consumers in the country. As a result, people have a perception that chips mean potato crackers. For example, when the Honda brand motorcycles first gained popularity in the country, the people of the country started calling the motorcycles Honda. This trend of people calling motorcycles Honda still remains. Similarly, in the case of potato crackers in Bangladesh, the maximum number of people in the country still find potato crackers when they go to buy chips. Although the total annual sales of potato crackers of all brands of the country are not known, the popularity of potato crackers in Bangladesh is so high that it would not be wrong to call this snack item the national snack of the country.
In the market of packaged snacks and chips in Bangladesh, different brands have come up with chips of different tastes, which have succeeded at some point. For example, Mr. Twist from Bombay Sweets, which is another variant of potato crackers, or ring chips, a kind of crackers made from a mixture of flour and starch. Later some chips like Alooz, Meridian, Sun, and Kurkure gained popularity, but they are still lagging in facing the popularity of Bombay sweets potato crackers. In addition, some chips have gained some popularity quickly, but due to targeting a certain number of consumers, they have faded away from the market. For example, Meridian chips or Ruchi Banana chips are no longer available in the market.
Meanwhile, chips like sun or crunch are available in cities or country towns, but not so much in rural areas. But no matter how remote the place is, one can find one or another brand of potato crackers in almost every corner of Bangladesh. Although food and beverage companies are experimenting with new flavors and variants of chips, brands keep potato crackers in their portfolios because they are at the top of the market.
The market for potato crackers in the snack segment is so competitive that for a long time, each brand has kept the potato cracker’s price at Tk. 10 only. This is because the popularity of potato crackers is so great that Brands has focused on solid distribution to increase sales without competing with brands or quality update of their product. These brands fear that the product will not get acceptance in the market if there is a change in taste, packaging, or price. For example, Pran and Bombay Sweets have a higher market share due to their robust distribution network. Meanwhile, the packaging, price, and taste of other brands’ potato crackers are the same, and the consumers usually take what the shopkeeper is offering. Customers don’t ask separately for Pran’s Potato Crackers or Bombay Sweets Potato Crackers. Due to this, the shopkeepers typically try to keep the product supplied at the lowest price, i.e., the product which will get a good margin. For example, the retail price of Bombay Sweets Potato Crackers is Tk 8, whereas the retail price of Meridian or other brands is a bit higher. In addition to the big brands, potato crackers with similar packaging to small brands are available in many parts of the country. The companies that manufacture these chips usually operate on a small scale in certain areas or districts and offer their products at lower retail prices than the larger brands. As a result, shopkeepers keep these products for more profit.
In addition, local brands prefer to sell multiple products with a similar name instead of experimenting with new products. For example, several brands in the market have biscuits called Lexus, which have almost the same name, test, packaging, and branding. If food and beverage companies are successful in the market with a product brand, the rest of the same product is different or often brings the market with the same name.
When launching a new variant of chips in the chips market, brands usually invest heavily in promotions to create awareness around new products. Brands usually make different jingles and characters from TVs and billboards for advertising. But in the case of market-established popular products, promotional activities come down a bit. For example, the promotion of brands for potato crackers is much less. But potato crackers are still far ahead of other chips in popularity and sales. However, the market has changed a lot now. Consumers enjoy different flavors, and many international brands have entered the market. As a result, potato crackers may not have such dominance in the future. Real potato chips are already gaining popularity in the market, and brands are also adding potato chips to their portfolios, such as Alooz of Bombay Suites. But, potato crackers will always be a popular snack among the consumers of Bangladesh.