Festive season demand for dry fruits and chocolates back to pre-Covid level

Festive season demand for dry fruits and chocolates back to pre-Covid level

Festive season demand for dry fruits and chocolates has reached the pre-Covid level with pharmaceuticals, , logistics and banking sectors being the major buyers. Retail demand for these items, which soars ahead of Diwali and Dhanteras in Indian households, is also on the higher side this year.

Dry fruits such as cashew, pistachio, almonds and raisins are mostly bought during the festive season.

“Supply of dry fruits from Afghanistan, Iran and the US is smooth and prices have not increased much, which has come as a big relief to the trade. The demand this year is much higher than 2020 and has touched the pre-Covid level,” Vijay Singh Bhuta, president, Mumbai Dry Fruits Traders Association, told ET.

Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August, there was apprehension that prices of dry fruits would surge and in turn impact festive season demand. However, this did not happen. Besides, production of yellow raisins in the western belt of Maharashtra and Belgaum in Karnataka has been good.

“For a brief period of time, prices went up 10-15%. But when the supply side normalised subsequently, prices corrected and remained stable,” said Bhuta.

Traders said they were expecting an upsurge in demand from the corporates given that the economy is bouncing back and vaccination drive has picked up. “Offices have opened and there are very few restrictions now. We thought that corporates will place huge orders. But it was normal, just like 2019,” said a dry fruit trader from Delhi’s Khari Baoli dry fruit market, who did not wish to be identified.

Chocolate makers said that since local restrictions are not there, corporates are reaching out to their clients in every corner of the country. Assorted chocolate maker, Ayesha Memon, partner of Mumbai-based Chocolate Smith said that most of the orders have come from pharma companies, banking sector and logistics companies.

These are the sectors which have done well during the Covid-19 pandemic, when medical assistance, no-contact delivery and digitisation in payments went up.

Memon refused to name her clients but said that orders have been placed by a few leading pharma companies, banks and delivery companies.

Traders said retail demand has gone up also because some people have made money in the equity markets. “For more than a year and a half, people have fought with Covid and related anxiety. So, they want to celebrate this festive season in a big way. They have liquid money in hand and are therefore spending on dry fruits and chocolates,” said Sanjay Jain, a dry fruit and chocolate retailer in Delhi.

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