In 2011, Parle-G was the biggest biscuit selling brand of not only India, but of the world, according to Nielsen data.
The operation was conducted after Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) – India’s largest campaigner for the children’s rights created by Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi in 1980 – received information that a large number of children were working in Amasivni area in Raipur.
Most of the rescued children were in the 12-16 year age group and, according to their statements, worked daily 12-hour shifts for Rs 5,000-Rs 7,000 ($72-$100) per month.
Household name trusted by kids
“It is a matter of great concern and disappointment that a brand like Parle-G – which is a household name in our country and built on the trust of innumerable consumers, consisting largely of children – should be involved in the exploitation of children so openly,” said Samir Mathur, CEO of BBA.
The children have been sent to the state government’s children home and a police report has been lodged under Section 79 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
Annually, the BBA, along with state governments, district administrations and local organizations, conduct week-long rescue operations in India, commencing on World Day against Child Labor on June 12.
Parle has not responded to our requests for comment before publication.
Parle-G was launched as a competition brand to the imported Jacob’s Biscuit in 1939 in a British dominated India.
The privately held company established its first factory in Vile Parle in Mumbai, where it created the glucose infused biscuits – hence the brand’s initial name, Parle Glucose Biscuits, which was then changed to Parle Gluco and eventually Parle-G.
India is the third largest producer of biscuits following the US and China, according to ResearchandMarkets. The sector is expected to surpass the revenue figure of INR 400 billion ($5.73bn) by 2023.
Parle’s local competitors include ITC, Britannia Industries, Surya Food & Agro and Unibic Foods India.