Seeing big opportunity in the country’s non-alcoholic malt-drink market — a niche but potentially a high-volume category — global biggies such as Coca-Cola and Heineken have entered the beverage segment.
A non-alcoholic malt drink is a high energy beverage, brewed in the same fashion as beer or ale. The beverage generally contains under 100 calories, compared to 300 of an average carbonated soft drink.
Besides Heineken, Anheuser-Busch InBev has also entered this segment to target the vast untapped market of people, who refrain from consuming alcohol. Coca-Cola has forayed into the niche category in a big way with its global brand Barbican.
In case of Coca-Cola, the entry aims at introduction of more healthy options in the F&B segment.
The company launched a pilot project six months back to introduce the product which is tragetted towards the youth. “We introduced Barbican, a non-alcoholic malt-based beverages, in select Indian markets,” a senior company official told IANS.
Similarly, it was consumer demand for no-alcohol brews that led United Breweries to launch — Heineken 0.0 — which caters to a segment of health-conscious, young adults.
“The product tastes like a beer with no alcohol. It is targeted at people, who want to drink a beer tasting product on non-alcoholic occasions, driving, in the office, after a game, in a restaurant with family. There are lots of occasions like these,” Ramesh Viswanathan, Chief New Business Officer, United Breweries, told IANS.
“The product has only 21 cal per 100 ml unlike soft drinks which is 45-50 cal per 100ml. So less than half.”
This is the second non-alcoholic beverage in United Breweries’ portfolio. Last year, the company launched Kingfisher Radler, a blend of lemon juice and imported barley malt.
In July, Anheuser-Busch InBev launched — Budweiser 0.0 — in India, stating that it aims to make-up at least 20 per cent of global beer volume by 2025.
“Beer is a drink of moderation and as a leading brewer, we would like to offer our consumers choice,” Ben Verhaert, President – South Asia, AB InBev, told IANS.
“Budweiser is the fastest growing premium brand in the country and the launch of Budweiser 0.0 will further enable the brand to be inclusive, as many people today either can not or choose not to consume alcohol.”
Notably, a majority of India’s adult population is estimated to refrain from consuming alcohol.