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Bengali sweets business on the lookout for sweeter solutions

The Bengali sweets, icing on Bengali cuisine is now seeking a shot in the arm to boost sales and span more markets.

india Updated: Jan 12, 2006 12:14 IST

The traditional Bengali sweets from West Bengal that have been the icing on Bengali cuisine is now seeking a shot in the arm to boost sales and span more markets.

Fruits of the Bengali sweet making enterprise is enjoyed the world over and in India quality milk based deserts have come to be associated with the region.

Every meal comes full circle in any Bengali home only after the consumption of a Bengali dessert in which fresh sweetened milk is the basic ingredient. Every locality has its own blend and innumerable varieties of delicious sweets found from Kolkata to Cooch Behar.

However the innovation has not been matched by a business enterprise and what could have been a flourishing business is a merely local phenomenon, lament some customers in Kolkata's sweetmeat markets. The Bengalis lament that the best sweet shops, in glitz and display, in Kolkata today are owned by non-Bengalis.

"If an initiative is taken to make a big stall which will house a sweet specialty of each and every part of Bengal, it will sell very well. Even within districts there are various regions that are renowned for their distinguished Bengali desserts. If all that is on display in a large shop where, say a foreigner who wishes to learn a little of each region walks in, he can take a pick from the vast array and take some along," said Soumen das, a customer enjoying his daily dose of Bengali sweets at a recently opened joint in Kolkata.

The sellers' obstacles are many. The operation flood run by the Indian government to make the country self sufficient in milk production seems to have stalled in its west Bengal run.

"We need some good milk and a better organisation of advertisements and publicity. We need good coverage that will make us reachable to a long distance," said Pranab Dutta, owner of a sweet meats shop who feels strongly about the lack of infrastructure like good roads, refrigerated containers to ferry milk based sweets from one place to another and governmental support.

Kolkata alone has a consumption capacity of two million litres of milk per day. However according to business studies by research organisations, famous national milk co-operatives such as Mother Dairy, Metro Dairy along with Amul, all put together, cater to just around 800,000 litres per day.

As many observers from the West like Mark Twain had said - India is a land of fairs, feasts and festivals and in this rich diversity, sweets occupy a place of pride.

So the sweet making industry has takers at any time of the year and only needs some rethinking on the market policy and innovative marketing.

First Published: Jan 12, 2006 12:14 IST