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Members of Aam Aadmi Party's trade wing hold rally in New Delhi on May 12 to protest Walmart's purchase of a majority stake in Flipkart.   © Reuters
The Big Story

Indian retail is ripe for disruption despite pushback

Backlash against Walmart-Flipkart deal poses challenge for Modi's reform agenda

KEN KOYANAGI, Editor-at-large, Nikkei Asian Review | India

MUMBAI -- Shoppers from overseas, accustomed to an almost overwhelming amount of choice, may be shocked by what they find on Indian supermarket shelves -- or rather what they don't find. A major upscale supermarket in Mumbai stocks only a few types of bottled water, mostly local brands. Names like Volvic, almost ubiquitous outside of India, are nowhere to be seen.

Foreign shoppers would be equally shocked to find very few fruit or vegetable juices with no added sugar. Freshness, like choice, is also in short supply. Most eggs are more than a week old, and some yogurts are only a day or two before their "best-by" dates. Fresh greens like parsley are less than green, covered as they are in fine soil.

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