Amritsar's snack food makers happy selling to foreigners | SupportBiz

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Amritsar's snack food makers happy selling to foreigners

While the depreciation of the Indian rupee over the last one year has been a matter of concern for traders in Amritsar, Punjab, it has benefited small scale pappadam and ‘warrian’ manufacturing units in that city.

Manufacturers claim to be making more money from customers this time around, a majority of whom are foreign tourists paying in dollars.

Pappadam or spiced snacks are served with meals and ‘Warrian’ are baked spiced snacks, made out of pulses and added to a vegetable dish. Both are delicacies among Indians, the Indian diaspora abroad and foreign tourists.

These units, some 200 of them, employ 30,000 people in the city, and together have an annual turnover of above Rs. 20 crores.

Foreign tourists have been shopping for these snacks for years now, said Sukhwinder Singh, who has been in this business for 30 years.

Earlier some 50 customers would buy from Singh’s store each day. The number has increased to 100 this year and a majority of them are tourists from the US. While others are from Canada, Australia, and the UK, said Singh.

Singh and others like him love the tourists because they pay in US dollars.  

Forty years back, there were just 20 houses where these snacks were manufactured. But demand led to the birth of a cottage industry within the city, said Bhupinder Singh, another manufacturer.

Customer growth is a yearly phenomenon, but footfalls have gone up drastically this year given that foreign tourists are looking to reap benefits from a depreciated rupee, said Bhupinder Singh, whose family has been in this business for three generations now.

The depreciated rupee, however, affects profit margins.

Bhupinder Singh’s pappadams and ‘warian’ are also sold in large stores such as Bharti Wallmart and Reliance Fresh.

Earlier, the process of making both snacks involved manual labour. Today, machines do the same, ensuring better control over quality, said another manufacturer Amarjit Singh

Amristsar, the holiest city for the Sikh community worldover, is home to the Golden Temple, the highest temple in the Sikh religion. Those who visit the Golden Temple visit markets in-and-around the temple and are tempted to buy these backed snacks.