Unforgotten Brands – Modern Bread

modern bread

Modern practically created the bread market in India. Bread has been represented by the distinctive Blue & Orange Waxed Paper Bread bag.

When it comes to bread, Modern is a household name since it practically invented the category in India.

The Central Government of India owned Modern Bakeries (India) Limited, which produced Modern Bread. It was opened in 1965 in Tamil Nadu, in the area of Kazhikundram, Taramani (near the current location of Tidel Park).

The establishment of this business was part of the 1951 Colombo Plan, a post-colonial initiative by India, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, and Pakistan to promote economic and social development in Asia (the company also marketed Rasika, a fruit juice concentrate, and Double Seven, India’s rival to Coca-Cola and Pepsi).

In the 1960s, the most popular bakery items in India were cakes, biscuits, rusks, buns, and pastries, while bread came in at a distant second. The majority of sales came from the northern and western regions. Even when the public wasn’t completely sold on bread, the blue and orange packaging of Modern Bread elicited remarkable brand memories.

Firsts in Baking History

It boasts that it was the first Indian company to market vitamin-enriched white bread in 1968, sweet bread in 1971, fruity bread in India in 1981, and brown bread in India under the brand name Wheatamin in 1991.

In 1982, the company changed its name to Modern Foods India Ltd. In 1989,  to keep up with demand, it started using fully automated packaging lines.

Despite having a 40% share of the bread market by the year 2000, it was losing nearly Rs. 48 crore. The next year, Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), the buyer, sent the company to the Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) after the Indian government privatised it and sold it to HUL. The business started making money again after some restructuring.

Acquisitions and Dropping Out

For over 15 years, HUL attempted to incorporate its new purchase with its existing goods, introducing cakes, rusks, and cream rolls while experimenting with various pack sizes and bread categories. Following a series of fluctuations, HUL sold its stake in the business in 2016 to the private equity firm Everstone Capital. Parallely, the 2016 edition of the Brand Trust Report (India Study) named Modern Bread the most trusted bread in the country.

HUL reportedly decided not to pursue the short-shelf-life product because the market was too small. Everstone Capital, which has previously invested in numerous other food and beverage companies, saw a promising expansion opportunity.

Everstone Capital invested in an innovation hub to boost R&D and production quality for the benefit of brand awareness. It developed new packaging designs and graphics, introduced new value-added products, and entered the ready-to-cook chapati and paratha space in Kerala and Tamil Nadu under the Modern brand name after carefully monitoring shifting consumer consumption patterns, lifestyle changes, and other factors.

Putting Health First

Fruity, calcium-enriched Milk, Enriched Sweet, Family Special, Sandwich Supreme, hi-fiber brown, Atta Shakti, 100% whole wheat, Multigrain Superseed (with Omega 3), and Multigrain Oats and Flax bread are just some of the new additions to Modern’s bread lineup. As consumers move towards healthy eating habits, the market for such value-added breads is projected to increase at a pace of 18% to 20% in the future.

Even though expansion into biscuits, cakes, croissants, and noodles is in the works at Modern Food, the company has a strong focus on health and fitness. The firm is also exploring the possibility of acquiring well-established local brands in the area. Therefore, the new tagline “Thrive, and savour life to the fullest” is an excellent expression of its purpose.

The Mexican baking conglomerate Grupo Bimbo bought it in February 2021.




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