Rice-Based Snacks: A Global Opportunity Rooted in Bangladesh's Culinary Tradition

Dr. F H Ansarey: In Bangladesh, the processed food and ready-made snack industry heavily relies on imported raw materials like wheat, oil, and sugar. However, street foods in Bangladesh predominantly revolve around rice-based delicacies. It reflects the deep-rooted culinary tradition and the widespread popularity of such snacks. Therefore, rice, the locally produced staple, presents a compelling opportunity for the development of innovative, healthy, and sustainable snack options. In addition to the domestic market, the export potential of rice-based snacks from Bangladesh is promising. By leveraging local spices and ingredients, rice-based snacks can showcase the rich and diverse flavors of Bangladesh. With the right branding, packaging, and market positioning, these snacks can find a place on the shelves of international supermarkets and specialty stores.

Across Asia, rice-based snacks have carved a niche for themselves. It showcases the versatility and appeal of this humble grain. From China's crispy rice crackers and glutinous rice balls to Vietnam's savory rice paper rolls and Japan's beloved rice crackers, the diversity and popularity of rice-based snacks are evident. In the Indian subcontinent, traditional rice-based snacks like "Muri" (puffed rice) or "Jhal Muri" (spicy puffed rice), "Chira" or "Chira" (flattened rice), and "Murir Mowa" or "Murmura Laddu" (mixture of puffed rice and jaggery) have been cherished for generations. Besides, they offer a glimpse into the rich heritage and potential for value addition in rice-based snacking for the region.

One notable success story of rice-based snacks is Kameda Seika, a renowned Japanese company that has achieved global recognition for its innovative rice crackers. Kameda's commitment to quality and innovation has propelled its rice-based snacks to local as well as international acclaim. It is an inspiring example of how a focus on rice-based snacks can lead to significant achievements in the global snack industry using innovation and strategic branding.

Writer-President, ACI Agribusinesses Division