P is for Parle products – from the ubiquitous, ever popular, the best-selling biscuit in the world – Parle-G and the many other biscuit varieties that I grew up with (Krackjack and Monaco among them) to the many candies (Poppins anyone? which offered a fruity rainbow in every roll, the one with the name that made us giggle as kids – the ‘cardamomy’ Kismi, and the oh-so chocolatey Melody). It is among the oldest recognized brands in India with its origins in 1929 with 12 employees. Now, it has almost 40% of the biscuit market in India and about 15% of the candy market.
The Parle-G biscuit, first produced in 1938, can perhaps be called the company’s mascot product and the little girl on the wrapper is recognizable anywhere in India – from the remotest villages to the high-rises in the cities. Many rumors regarding the girl’s identity were laid to rest when the company finally announced that the girl was in fact an illustration by an Everest creative in the 1960s. The biscuits simplicity in its taste, its packaging that has pretty much remained as it was years ago, in its sheer honest-to-goodness quality, and its affordability make it a household name across India (and elsewhere too!).
The wonderful legacy of Parle Products can be read on its website here – The Parle Story.
Adding a description – thanks to TarlaDalal.com –
‘Parle-G is a small, rectangular flat-baked sweet biscuit, manufactured and marketed by Parle Foods. It is filled with the goodness of milk and wheat, and the G apparently stands for Glucose and Genius since it is a source of strength for body and mind. It is made up of wheat flour, sugar, partially hydrogenated edible vegetable oils, invert syrup, leavening agents, salt, milk solids, emulsifiers,dough conditioners,added flavours,Glucose and Levulose’
My memories of Parle products include many a quick dunk of biscuits in cups of tea, chocolate, milk or cocoa; eating them by the packs while we played antakshari ,card games like bluff or housie ,
while studying for exams (I especially recall one night in our hostel where I and my roommates bought at least two dozen packs of Parle G biscuits, put all our beds together to form a huge workspace so we could study through the night with a couple of flasks of tea and the biscuits right between us. Guess what? The biscuits and the tea were definitely emptied, but the books – well, let us say we were up the next day as well so we could actually study!!); popping Poppins while watching movies and sharing them with friends in the theater; and walking to the neighborhood store to buy some of everything!
Now, our every trip to our neighborhood Indian grocery stores is not complete without a Parle product in our cart (be it Parle-G, or Monaco, or the newer favorites like Hide-and-Seek or Milano, as well as the many newer snacks and other old favorites).
I leave those of you who grew up in India in the 80s/90s with nostalgia with this TV ad (followed by today’s reader question)
Q to the reader: Your favorite biscuit (or cookie) and/or candy from childhood?
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