MUMBAI: As consumers are gradually moving away from aerated drinks, so are their brand ambassadors. Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt, who endorsed Coca-Cola until a few weeks ago, has signed a deal with Parle which is launching a fruit-based brand Frooti Fizz.
Parle Agro said the new product is part of a wider strategy to double its revenue to Rs 5,000 crore by 2018, especially from its flagship brand Frooti – that is the second largest mango drink after Coca-Cola’s Maaza -and Appy which is now a Rs 500-crore brand.
“While mango-based drinks control more than 90% of the total market, we need to re-invent ourselves within the segment. The new product will address different target consumers and will build Frooti franchisee further,” said Nadia Chauhan, joint managing director at Parle Agro.
Last year, Coca-Cola dropped actor Salman Khan as Thums Up brand ambassador citing conflict of interest after TV reality show Bigg Boss roped in Parle Agro’s beverage brand Appy Fizz as a major sponsor for its Season 10 episodes.
Launched in 1985 by the Chauhan family, Frooti is credited with popularising packaged mango drink in the country. However, over the years, cola giants captured a bulk of the market, helped by their clout among general traders and their much larger portfolios.
However, Parle, in the past two years, is clawing back with its brand Footi overtaking PepsiCo’s Slice last year. The company transformed its go-to market strategy two years ago which increased its infrastructure efficiency by over 40% and doubled its distribution.
“We aim to be number one in the mango drink segment,” said Chauhan, adding that the company has appointed Boston Consulting Group to streamline operations and bring in efficiency.
India is considered key to the cola giants’ growth at a time when they are contending with shifting tastes in its traditional markets, such as the US and Europe. In India, too, the demand for healthier drinks is increasing faster in urban centres, with consumers switching to fruit-based beverages.
For instance, Coca-Cola aims to turn Maaza into its first billion-dollar juice brand in India, in an effort to increase the market share of its non-carbonated drinks portfolio. Maaza already controls half the mango drinks market.
Experts say marketers need to innovate within the mango category as they seem averse to launching a new flavour.
“The launch comes at the back of good growth in Appy fizz flavour in an otherwise lukewarm growing carbonated soft drinks segment. While more flavours from apple to mango definitely can add consumer franchise, the flip side is to have a pristine mango drink get attached to the fizzy category,” said Devendra Chawla, group president at Future Group.
With a large segment of Indian consumers shifting to non-cola carbonates from regular cola drinks, companies plan to grab a share of the changing market fuelled by consumer habits. According to a Euromonitor report, companies realised that the only way to gain share was by introducing new products.