It is late afternoon. As I sip my tip while dipping the biscuit, I feel that tea without biscuits is just as incomplete as fritters without dips. Tea time snacking is a common habit in the Indian culture, with biscuits being the most widely used tea time snacks. My pick for today is Britannia, a household name for biscuits, bread, and cakes in India.
Starting from a bakery in Kolkata
The habit of having biscuits with tea might have been introduced in India by the British. To the tea-time snacking of the British officers and their families a modest bakery was started out in 1892, in a small house in central Kolkata (then Calcutta), with an initial investment of Rs 295.
A few years later, the bakery was bought by two Gupta brothers, who along with an English businessman C.H. Holmes as their partner, incorporated Britannia Biscuit Company in 1918. Britannia’s business flourished, and a UK based firm (Peek Freans) acquired a controlling interest in 1924. Britannia became the first biscuit maker in India to mechanise production and acquired a reputation for quality and value.
Britannia’s reputation for quality got a further boost when the Government of India during the British Raj contracted Britannia for supplying biscuits for the armed forces during the World War II. The company was finally rechristened as “Britannia Industries Limited” in 1979.
Ownership changed hands a number of times and Britannia is now a part of the Wadia group.
Healthy breads and biscuits
The sliced bread that we cannot do without today, was introduced in India by Britannia. The company also introduced a wide range of biscuits in India from economical to premium, to suit the snacking needs and pockets of people of all demographic and socio economic segments across urban and rural India.
Be it the healthy and economical Tiger biscuits, or the Maska Rusk, or crisp and light Britannia Marie, or the whacky 5050 Sweet & Salty crackers, or rich cashew filled Good Day, or sugary chocolatey bourbon, or whole grained Nutrichoice, or Nice biscuit sprinkled with sugar crystals, or the ecstasic Chunkies – each of these biscuits has its own identity and distinct appeal.
One of my personal favourites was Little Heart, which somehow I do not find nowadays.
From 1997 onwards, we got a taste of international flavors for cheese & spreads in India via Britannia’s Dairy business.
Eat healthy think better.
With the credo ‘Eat healthy think better’, Britannia has provided both accessibility and availability of its products to the masses. The extremely strong retail network of Britannia ensures the easy and ready availability of its products across both rural and urban India.
Britannia has actively participated in fighting malnutrition by fortifying biscuits and breads with nutrients.
Tiger Glucose biscuits fortified with iron and staples and breads fortified with vitamins and calcium, have helped Britannia to provide affordable nutrition to kids in a manner they love.
A leading brand in the Indian biscuits market, the $1-billion biscuit major launched its super-premium chocolate chip cookie Good Day Chunkies exclusively on Amazon before making it available in super markets.
As I sip my tea, I am enjoying the aroma of oven-fresh cakes.
Let the richness of cashews, or a sinful bite of molten cheese on freshly toasted bread, along with tea, add to the simple joys of your life.
Have a Good Day !
Image source : Britannia website
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