A cool battle is raging under the hot summer sun in India. And it’s not just the ‘cola war’ between global rivals Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, but a bigger battle involving many more domestic players entering the Indian beverages market.
According to a IANS report: Every summer, sale of non-alcoholic beverages shoot up and big companies compete hard to grab a greater share of the consumers’ wallet. Now a host of home-grown companies too have joined the fray, including brands such as Frooti, Appy, Paperboat, Real (Dabur), B Natural, Jumpin and MangoSip among others.
Preferences of the people have shifted more towards the functionality or nutrients in the beverages, according to Co-founder and Chief Executive, Paperboat, Neeraj Kakkar.
Health consciousness is increasing among the Indian consumers which in turn is driving the demand for functional drinks like packaged juices. As against this, carbonated drinks do not contain any vitamin or mineral.
“The broader shift is from non-functional beverages to functional beverages. People expect more than just taste and thirst-quenching functions from the drinks they consume,” Kakkar was quoted by IANS as saying.
“The rushed and hectic lifestyle that urban Indians are leading today has led to a demand for convenient breakfast and snacking solutions like packaged fruit juices,” Marketing Head-Food, Dabur India, Sanjay Singal was quoted by IANS as saying.
“Consumers are increasingly looking at wholesome solutions like packaged juices that provide the required nutrition all through the day,” he was further quoted by IANS as saying.
Popular across all age-groups, packaged juices have wooed Indian consumers because of more flavours, including those of traditional fruits.
“Packaged juice is a $90-million category in India. Fruit and vegetable drinks constitute five-sixth of the category, the balance being juices and nectars,” Senior Vice-President Nielsen India, Vijay Udasi was quoted by IANS as saying.
“The latter is growing at a healthy 23 per cent as of April 2016 which is nearly double the rate of the packaged juices category,” he was further quoted by IANS as saying.
The exclusion of preservatives adds value to the health quotient of these packed juices. The producers are more concerned about using natural ingredients for the beverages, ultimately leading to their higher pricing.
“Packaged fruit juices are priced higher than the aerated beverages purely for the fact that these contain real fruits and do not have any preservative,” Singhal was quoted by IANS as saying.
Packaged fruit juices and aerated drinks can never compete, since both the segments address two completely different consumer needs, Singhal was further quoted by IANS as saying.
However, packaged juices may face competition from fresh fruit juices which are available at cheaper rates. Perhaps the way forward for the producers of packaged juices is to raise consumer awareness on the hygienic quality of their product compared to the fresh fruit juices sold by the roadside vendors.