Kallan Sweets, the 80-year-old establishment near Jama Masjid, used to sell 400-500 kg sweets during the Diwali week every year. “But, the business is just 20-30 per cent this time,” laments owner Mohammad Naved. “We are making sweets in limited quantities and sticking to tried-and-tested options such as barfi, gulab jamun, rasgulla, kaju barfi and dhoda barfi. We are not innovating because we don’t want to take any risk.” Also experiencing low footfalls is Hira Sweets at Laxmi Nagar — famous for its balushahi and malpuas — that used to be teeming with customers during festivals. “We are following all social distancing and safety measures, but customers are very few. Also, only a limited number of people are allowed inside the shop,” shares salesman Santosh Kumar. Arun Sharma, owner of 53-year-old Kangra Sweets in Lajpat Nagar, admits that the business has decreased by 50 per cent this year.
“People are just doing a formality of buying sweets. It is nothing like what it used to be, is all I can say.” There’s also an increased preference for pre-packaged gift hampers to ensure zero-risk of virus spread. “And, this is not only with Diwali gifting, but for all L’Opéra products in general.
To this end, we have decided to pack each and every product hygienically, but in an aesthetically pleasing individual package. Our patrons are highly appreciative of this initiative and have rewarded us with their continued purchases,” adds L’Opéra founder Kazem Samandari.
While packaged gifts are hygienic and a time-saver, readying these are a challenge. But brands have adapted to this change. Simply Rooted-Gourmet Store founder Vidhika Batra says, “The biggest change is going from dry fruits and mithais to the hampers with healthy ingredients and a longer shelf life. The added benefit is the versatility and variety of options such as granola, gluten-free granolas, vegan range, seed mix, cookies and more.
We are a new gourmet store, but we have been appreciated for the concept of introducing healthy lifestyle gourmet items, so in our case I would say the sales have been good.” Meanwhile, there has also been a decrease in corporate and bulk orders. “We used to get huge corporate orders in advance,” says Naved. “But this time, we have got less orders and even the quantity requested is less because a lot of people have lost their jobs. For instance, if a company used to request for 1 kg each for 100 employees earlier, they are placing orders for only 50 boxes of half kg each.
We used to get orders from Amex and British Council, but with all employees working from home, there are no orders coming in.” Samandari says that L’Opéra’s Diwali sales in the outlets and sales to individual customers are marginally better than last year. “But, companies and institutional customers who placed large orders in previous years have clearly cut back on their Diwali budgets.”
New gifting trend
Apart from tiding hygiene concerns, gift hampers are a hit this Diwali for the versatility and variety of
items these offer to choose from. Popular items includes granolas, glutenfree granolas, vegan range, seed mix and cookies.