Millennials would recall fond memories of eating Parle-G biscuits in the evenings along with a hot cup of chai or coffee. The simple and humble milk biscuit Parle G is a household name and is perhaps the major reason for Parle being the brand it is today. Parle G is also one of the oldest Indian brands in existence and can trace its roots back to the British Raj when India was still under British rule. The journey of Parle G is as iconic as the brand itself. Keep reading to find out how Parle G grew from a humble beginning to become one of the major brands in the FMCG industry today.
Parle was established in 1929 by the Chauhan family in Vile-Parle, Bombay during the British Raj rule. Mohanlal Dayal Chauhan belonged to a family of silk traders and he purchased a refurbished confectionery manufacturing plant. Mohanlal sailed to Germany to learn the trade of making confectionery and returned to India with the necessary skills in 1929, following which he set up his first factory. The factory was named as House of Parle after the suburb Vile Parle, in which it was located.
Parle initially manufactured and sold peppermints, sugar and toffees. The plant was managed by 12 family members who looked after engineering, manufacturing and logistics. The first Parle product to become a major hit was the Orange Bite, an orange flavoured candy. The Swadeshi Movement started in India to urge Indian citizens to purchase only Indian products in order to reduce dependency on imported British products. Spurred by the increasing prominence of the Swadeshi Movement, Parle decided to manufacture biscuits which were a premium imported product back then. United Biscuits, Huntley & Palmers, Britannia and Glaxo were the prominent British brands that ruled the market.
In 1938, Parle came up with Parle G which is short for Parle Gluco, a glucose based biscuit which was made in India and made for Indians. These biscuits became an affordable source of nourishment for the Indian masses and made biscuits commonplace in India.
Parle hit a roadblock when competitors like Britannia which launched its own line of glucose biscuits named Glucon D. Brittannia even went as far as to get Gabbar Singh from the movie Sholay, to promote their biscuits. The Indian masses quickly became confused with the number of biscuits available in the market and simply began asking for glucose biscuits.
It was at this moment that Parle decided to counter the knock offs and came up with packaging that would be unique to Parle Gluco while patenting its own packing machinery. The new packaging was a yellowish wax paper wrapper with a plump little girl imprinted on it , along with the brand name and company’s red coloured logo. This was quickly followed by a television commercial with the Indian superhero Shakthiman who was immensely popular with kids. Since then there was no looking back for Parle G and even to this day it enjoys an unparalleled popularity.
Parle G is still committed to its promise of being an affordable brand for all economic sections of the Indian society. A small pack of Parle G biscuits is sold for a simple price of ₹ 5. Parle G biscuits are easily available in all corners of the country and can be found in the remotest parts like the Line of Control or the North Eastern borders.
Today Parle G is one of the most recognisable Indian brands and a hundred million packets of Parle G are sold every month.