NEW DELHI: New social distancing norms and habits brought in by the Covid-19 pandemic have taken a toll on traditional sweets shops with customers opting for packaged sweets from organised players. “Small and medium scale mithai shops have started closing down due to high rentals, non-opening of malls and lower demand over the past few months,” said Virender Jain, president of Federation of Sweets & Namkeen Manufacturers (FSNM).Restrictions on social gatherings such as weddings and corporate events have also impacted their sales. “Already 5-10% of the shops have closed since March this year, and more can follow suit,” Jain said.He said the pandemic is pushing people towards packaged products from branded shops.Radhey Mohan Aggarwal, director at traditional sweets and namkeen chain Bikanervala, said this is because consumers are confident about branded shops’ hygiene practices and health concerns.“Overall, the sales have been down by 70% to 80% with negligible demand this wedding season. Bulk demand by companies for events like AGMs was also not there,” Aggarwal said. “However, we have observed that the demand for packed namkeens and mithai has increased since the lockdown was announced in March.”Organised sector accounts for only 5% of the overall sweets and namkeen market estimated at about 1 lakh crore.The pandemic has attracted new players in the market such as dairy brands Amul and Mother Dairy that are now selling traditional milk-based sweets.