“Getting bored!” one friend relents and another promptly replies, “Let’s eat-out!” Everyone nods and leaves to fill both their stomachs and bank accounts of various eateries.
How many times can one replicate this scenario in a day? So brands like National and Shan came to save the day. They promise great taste in a span of few minutes.
We can say that most Pakistanis live to eat. Eating-out or even in, seems to be the only entertainment left in Pakistan. We have inherited a strong taste for spices and rich flavour from our Mughal ancestors.
Demand for packaged spices has risen dramatically in the recent years due to increased urbanisation and changing family structures. The foremost reason for increase in demand isthe shift from single working parent to dual working parents. As a result today’s working woman or even housewife doesn’t have time to grind spices and make a mix at home.
Shan and National are both extremely popular names in the masala industry and are head to head competitors.
Shan specialises in the taste pallets of the southern region of Pakistan(particularly Sindh) while National caters to the northern region(particularly Punjab).
The real question is that why is there an oligopoly in an industry which is in its growth phase? The industry has great potential in terms of exports, low barriers to entry and availability of cheap labour.
Few other brands like Mehranhave tried to make their name in the product category but these me-too brands have failed toachieve significant market share.
Although we observe an increase in demand for spices, we do not see the investors reflecting their demand curve.
Processed spices are an untapped industry with great growth potential, considering the evolving family and lifestyle trends in the urban and even rural areas.
Also our region’s philosophy regarding food greatly helps the cause of spice manufacturers.