The Haldiram Success Story! How Did Haldiram Start?

Haldiram Success Story

Did you know India achieved the fifth position in the “Best Cuisines of the World” in 2023? All thanks to our diverse food culture! Do you know who showcased our foods to the world apart from the travelers? The Indian food brands! Yes, the brands associated with the making and marketing of Indian food including snacks. One of them is Haldiram Foods International Ltd.

Haldiram Success Story

When it comes to Indian snacks, a brand that shines at the top is none other than Haldiram! Not only does it rule Indian households but also gives tough competition to international brands like KFC, Domino, McDonald’s, etc. Being an Indian, can you recall when you heard the name of this brand for the first time? Probably you won’t remember. Can you guess the reason? Because Haldiram has ruled the Indian food market for over eight decades. Really? Yes, for more than 80 years!

And that’s not a cup of cake. Especially, for a brand that has to regularly update itself according to the evolving food habits of people. How did Haldiram touch the heights of success? How did it start? Your mind must be bustling with such questions. Well, in that case, don’t worry because in this write-up we will shed light on Haldiram’s success story. Also, we will uncover its successful business strategies, challenges, and innovation that created Haldiram’s food empire.

Stay tuned!

(A) Haldiram in a Nutshell

Haldiram’s is an Indian multinational company that specializes in sweets, snacks, and restaurant cuisine. It is headquartered in Noida and has manufacturing plants across India. You will rarely find any Indian food missing in it. Before exploring in detail, let’s have a brief overview of the company-

Name of the CompanyHaldiram
Founded1937 in Bikaner
(Rajasthan, India)
FounderGanga  Bishan Agarwal
(Haldiram Ji)
(Uttar Pradesh, India)
Frozen Foods,
Potato Chips
RevenueRs.7,130 crore
Valuation$10 billion
(Rs.67,24,000 crore)
CompetitorsPepsiCo, Danone,
Dabur India, Bikano,
and Bikaji.
Haldiram: A Brief Overview

(B) Why is Haldiram famous in India?

The popularity of Haldiram can be attributed to the following factors-

  • Savory Snacks & Namkeens: Haldiram’s is well-known for its wide range of namkeens, which are savory snacks made from lentils, spices, and seasonings. These namkeens have a unique taste and are highly popular among consumers.
  • Diverse Collection of Sweets: The rich sweets collection of Haldiram caters to different tastes and preferences of Indians. Their sweets are made with high-quality ingredients and are known for their authentic flavors, attracting a large customer base.
  • Extensive Network of Outlets: Haldiram has established a strong presence through its extensive network of outlets. The company has strategically expanded its retail outlets across India, making its products easily accessible to consumers
  • Beautiful Packaging & Branding: This has been the strongest marketing method of Haldiram. Its packaging communicates the brand’s values to customers through attractive designs and colors.

All these strategies have helped create brand recognition and a positive brand image for the company. Thus, Haldiram’s popularity can be attributed to its wide product range, unique taste, extensive retail presence, and effective marketing strategies.

(C) Haldiram Success Story: How did it start and become successful?

The journey of Haldiram success story begins in Bikaner, a town famous for “bhujia” in Rajasthan. The fact that a century-old snack reached your household through Haldiram is a topsy-turvy journey. How did that happen? Due to the following events-

(C.1) 1941: The Foundation of Haldiram

Ganga Bishan Agarwal (Haldiram) Success Story

Those were the days of the mid-20th century. Amid the National Independence Movement all around British India. An 11-year-old boy in a small town in Rajasthan was gearing up to establish the largest food empire in India in the forthcoming century. 

And that child was “Ganga Bishan Agarwal” with a nickname of “Haldiram.” Who knew back then that this name would soon become one of the most highly reputed brands in the country?

In 1919, he used to do odd jobs in Bikaner in his father’s snack shop which primarily consisted of Bhujia. With multiple efforts, he learned the technique of bhujia making but that didn’t satisfy him. Why? Because it tasted no different than the bhujia sold by fellow or contemporary snack shops. 

The young business enthusiast wondered how he would make profits if they kept on selling the same quality stuff sold by their competitors. To gain a monopoly, his shop’s bhujia must stand out in the market and outshine his competitors. He knew this fact very well. At this point, the thought of innovation ignited in his mind. What he did was an amazing formula that changed the entire fate of his snack shop. And what’s that?

(C.1.1) Tweaking the Bhujia-Making’s Formula

In those days, the bhujia were simply made up of Gram Flour which tasted the same across all the shops of Bikaner. So, Ganga Bishan Agarwal tweaked the formula of bhujia making by using moth beans instead of plain gram flour. Although he failed many times too. But finally, he succeeded in making the bhujia of supreme quality with moth bean lentils and gram flour. And this formula changed the entire fate of their business.

Not only Haldiram’s bhujia was tastier than that of their contemporaries but also crispier. This perfectly aligned with the taste of folks. And the popular name “Haldiram’s Bhujia” emerged.

But wait! That’s not all.

Apart from that formula, there were numerous other factors that contributed to Haldiram’s bhujia’s growth.

(C.1.2) Premium Bhujia

On making the bhujia of superior quality, Haldiram launched it at a premium price. Yes, much more expensive than the ordinary bhujia. The sellers used to sell the ordinary ones at 2 paise per kg. Since Haldiram’s bhujia was more delicious and crispy, he launched at a higher price i.e. 5 paise per kg. This strategy makes Haldiram’s bhujia a premium snack in the eyes of the public.

(C.1.3) Dongar Sev

He officially named Haldiram’s bhujia “Dongar Sev” after the real name of Bikaner’s king. Reason? It was a clever marketing tactic. And this strategy was a cherry on the top! The name “Dongar Sev” served as a brand ambassador of Haldiram’s Bhujia. Thereafter, people truly believed Haldiram’s bhujia was a premium product and were ready to pay a high price.

All these factors helped Ganga Bishan Agarwal, popularly called “Haldiram Ji” to establish the foundation of Haldiram in the year 1941.

(C.2) 1960s: Diversification of Haldiram’s Portfolio

Kaju Katli of Haldiram

Twenty years later, Ganga Bishan Agarwal’s family expanded their arms to three prime regions of the country. Those were Bikaner, Kolkata, and Nagpur. While the Bhujia business was running seamlessly in the first two locations. But the third region operated by “Shiv Kishan Agarwal,” the grandson of Haldiram, was going through a rough patch.


Nagpurians or better say Maharashtrians weren’t interested in Bhujias…

This was a major setback for Haldram’s journey. But Shiv Kishan Agarwal didn’t give up. He was highly determined to gain a strong foothold in Maharashtra. He wanted to know why Maharashtrians weren’t interested in Bhujia. So, he organized market research to understand the food habits of people in Maharashtra. He surveyed the entire market in that region and found astonishing results that served as a golden opportunity for Haldiram.

What were they? Look at the table below and you will find out!

Results of Market ResearchOpportunityHaldiram’s Initiative
Lack of awareness about different types of snacksIntroduction of new snacks in the marketAdded Samosa, Kachori, Chhole Bhature, etc. to the menu
Shortage of Sweets and Gap in Sweets MarketLaunching famous sweets of different Indian states.Introduced Kaju Katli, Rasgulla, Peda, etc.
Love for South Indian FoodThe high success rate of South Indian restaurantsLaunched Idli, Dosa, Samber, and Rasam in South Indian hotels.
Initiatives taken by Haldiram in Nagpur

Haldiram was like- Folks of Maharashtra aren’t aware of savory snacks, let’s introduce North Indian snacks (Samosas and Kachoris). Also, there weren’t many sweets available in the Nagpurian market. So, for an experiment, Haldiram launched “Kaju Katli” and distributed the sweets as free samples. This is the most important part of Haldiram success story.

And guess what?

This initiative was a tremendous success. “Kaju Katli” boosted the sales of Haldiram’s by 400% within a span of three years. The initiatives given in the table above, not only helped Haldiram to win the trust of Maharashtrians. But also aided in the establishment of a massive customer base. All the credit goes to Shiv Kishan Agarwal for diversifying Haldiram’s portfolio!

(C.3) 1970s: Extensive Network of Haldiram’s Outlets

If you go to any tier-1 or tier-2 city in India, you will surely find at least one outlet in Haldiram there. Do you know who the mastermind of an extensive network of Haldiram’s outlets in India is? That person is none other than “Manohar Lal Agarwal,” the current chairman of Haldiram Snacks. 

He launched two initiatives that became the pillars of Haldiram success story-

  • Effective marketing strategies: He focused on the alluring presentation of products. Haldiram is the first Indian snack company to introduce effective marketing strategies mainly through product packaging. You will get detailed info in the next section.
  • Expansion of Haldiram’s outlets: Haldiram wanted to establish a pan-India presence. Therefore, it targeted major tier-1 and tier-2 cities. Ultimately, this aggressive expansion not only increased its popularity but also increased its sales and profits by a huge margin.

Thus, Haldiram’s boasts a large network of more than 250 outlets in India. This is the evidence of Haldiram succes story. Out of them, 120 are present in North India and the rest 135 outlets are present in central and south India. Haldiram is an all-time favorite food outlet for vegetarians. And you know very well that the majority of vegetarians of the world reside in India. This factor also positively impacted the Haldiram success story.

Note: The milk leader Amul also has a fascinating success story. We have covered it thoroughly in the article “How Amul built its successful empire?” Check it out and you will get to know many interesting facts.

(D) Haldiram’s Marketing Strategies

Haldiram’s has implemented various marketing strategies to establish itself as a leader in the snack industry. These strategies have contributed to their success and popularity. One key aspect of their marketing approach is the use of the marketing mix framework, which covers the 5Ps- Product, Packaging, Price, Place, and Promotion. 

(D.1) Product

Haldiram’s offers a wide range of high-quality snacks and sweets with unique tastes and exciting packaging. They focus on providing customers with a diverse selection of products that cater to different preferences and occasions.

(D.2) Packaging

Diverse Portfolio of Haldiram

As you have read in the previous section, Manohar lal Agarwal inspired modern-day packaging methods. Do you know, in the 1990s and early 2000s, the packaging of products wasn’t a popular concept. The packaging and preservation methods gave a humongous boost to the food companies.

(D.1.1) What kind of packaging methods does Haldiram use?

Well, Haldiram uses various types of packaging. The majority of them are-

  • Pouches and Packets: Many of Haldiram’s products like snacks and namkeens are commonly packaged in pouches or packets made up of food-grade plastic. These are sealed to ensure freshness.
  • Tins and Boxes: Haldiram’s sweets and snacks are packaged in tin containers or cardboard boxes. These are often used for gifting purposes and to protect the products from physical damage.
  • Bulk Packaging: Haldiram also uses bulk packaging of certain products. These are mainly used in restaurants or catering services. They include larger pouches or cartons.
  • Cans and Jars: Sweets and liquid products of Haldiram are packaged in cans or glass jars to preserve their freshness and taste. Some common examples are- Haldiram’s Gulab Jamun and Rasgulla.
  • Vacuum Sealing: The products that need to retain crispiness are vacuum-sealed to maintain their texture. For example- Haldiram’s bhujia.

Note: We have already covered “Various forms and functions of packaging.” Go through it for detailed info. The packaging process is an essential part of Haldiram success story.

(D.3) Price

The pricing strategy of Haldiram plays a crucial role in their marketing success. They have adopted a competitive pricing strategy, offering their products at affordable prices without compromising on quality. This has helped them attract a large customer base. The affordable pricing has immensely contributed to Haldiram success story.

(D.4) Place

Haldiram has a strong distribution network and an extensive presence in various outlets. They have strategically positioned their stores in both urban and rural areas, making their products easily accessible to a wide range of consumers. 

(D.5) Promotion

In terms of promotion, Haldiram utilizes a combination of marketing strategies. They have invested heavily in advertising campaigns across different mediums, including television, print media, and digital platforms. Additionally, they often engage in sponsorship activities and participate in events to enhance brand visibility and reach. 

Overall, Haldiram’s success can be attributed to its comprehensive marketing strategies. This encompasses product diversification, competitive pricing, widespread distribution, and effective promotion. These efforts have allowed them to establish a strong brand presence and gain a significant market share in the snack industry.

(E) Challenges faced by Haldiram

Haldiram's ready to eat

The food company Haldiram faced the following challenges-

(E.1) Food Safety & Quality Assurance

Maintaining consistent quality and ensuring food safety in a large-scale food manufacturing business is a significant challenge. Similar is the case with Haldiram. Any quality control issues can harm the brand’s reputation and lead to legal and regulatory problems. And Haldiram faced this issue too! We will discuss it later in the sections on Haldiram’s controversies and bans.

(E.2) Competition

The Indian snacks and sweets market is highly competitive, with numerous local and international players. Haldiram faces competition from both traditional, regional sweets shops and large multinational food companies.

Who is the biggest competitor of Haldiram?

PepsiCo, Danone, Dabur India, and Bikaji are the biggest competitors of Haldiram.

(E.3) Expansion and Distribution

Expanding and maintaining a widespread distribution network across India and internationally is a logistical challenge. Ensuring that their products reach consumers in a timely and fresh condition is crucial.

(E.4) Changing Consumer’s Preferences

Consumer tastes and preferences can change rapidly. Keeping up with evolving consumer trends, including healthier snack options, is a constant challenge for Haldiram.

(E.5) Innovation

Continuously innovating and introducing new products to cater to changing consumer preferences is a challenge, as it requires research and development efforts.

(F) What is the Haldiram Controversy? 

Last year (2022), Haldiram was surrounded with controversies for using Urdu and Arabic in Namkeen packets sold during navratri. A woman made a false allegation over a product description that was written in Arabic. She misunderstood it as Urdu and accused Haldiram of playing with Hindu sentiments, especially in Navratri. However, Haldiram cleared the misunderstanding that gave rise to communal tensions.

(G) Why is Haldiram banned in some states?

Why is Haldiram banned in some states?

Haldiram has faced severe bans in certain states, particularly in the United States. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sale of Haldiram’s products due to concerns over chemical pesticide contamination and the presence of salmonella bacteria. These products were deemed unfit for human consumption by the American FDA. The ban specifically applies to Haldiram’s snacks like cookies, wafers, and biscuits.

(H) Conclusion

Here our discussion on the Haldiram success story comes to an end! We have seen how Haldiram started its journey in 1919. Its founder, an 11-year-old boy named Haldiram (Ganga Bishan Agarwal), began working at his father’s bhujia shop. Over the years, Haldiram’s dedication and knowledge of spices helped him establish a strong foothold in the market. 

Initially selling bhujia from a small shop in Bikaner, Haldiram steadily expanded his business and built a reputation for quality and taste. With relentless hard work and a focus on customer satisfaction, Haldiram’s brand grew into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise, generating impressive annual revenues of ₹7,000 crores. 

Today, Haldiram is renowned for its wide range of snacks, sweets, and other food products, serving customers across the globe!

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Published By: Supti Nandi
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Mehak Jain
6 months ago

It is such a well written write -up, with an insightful start and strategic execution.

: Supti Nandi! Keep the same going!!!!!!!

Monu Kumar
Monu Kumar
6 months ago

Haldiram snacks have been my favourite since childhood. The Haldiram soya sticks are my favourite. But I didn’t know they had such a rich history. The entrepreneurship of Haldiram ji is truly remarkable. Now Haldiram has become a part of almost every Indian. Thanks for sharing detailed info about Haldiram- A Gem of an Indian food company!

Sachin Yadav
Sachin Yadav
6 months ago

I’ve used both Zepto and Blinkit and honestly, it comes down to what you need. Zepto has a broader range of products, which is awesome for everyday shopping. Blinkit is super speedy for urgent stuff, but the selection is a bit limited. So, it’s all about your priorities.