Tropical climate and Gen X support growth drivers in Indian beverage industry

India's tropical climatic weather conditions and the growing youth population are the biggest drivers for the beverage industry to climb a new high, according to beverage manufacturers like MTR, B Natural, Parle Agro, UB Group and Coffee Day.

The beverage sector in the country covers fruit drinks in tetra packs, mineral water, alcoholic drinks, soft drinks, coffee and tea.

"The two factors that drive the beverage market are convenience of a ready-to-drink concept, easy availability, high thirst factor and disposable incomes," says IR Ramalinge Gowda, managing director of Karnataka Milk Federation which also vends a range of milk-based beverages which finds sales booming in summer months.

While it is difficult to estimate the size of the sector because each sector itself provides a dedicated range of customers, the industry estimates it as a
Rs 10,000-crore segment for fruit drinks and the soft drinks alone. The industry sources in Karnataka representing MTR Jagdale, KMF, B Natural, stated that the market was growing at over 30% annually.

"Since beverages are indispensable, companies are looking at novel packaging concepts to woo customers. In terms of flavour the demand is more for light and nutritional versions with better taste," says Dr Mridul Salgame, managing director, Institute for Analysis of Dairy Food & Cultures (IADFAC) Laboratories.

Says Dr A S Bawa, director, Defence Food Laboratory, Mysore, "We are looking at simple-to-carry and easy-to-digest versions which include highly nutritious drinks. This is because we are catering to the services sector. But the private entrepreneurs can approach us for technology transfer for any fruit-vegetable and cereal drink of their choice. Our range has millet beverage mixes, which are rich in calcium. The beetroot juice serves as a good beverage for personnel suffering from anaemic conditions. There are also beverages to increase the appetite of personnel stationed in high altitudes. All these can be conveniently reconstituted in water prior to consumption.

Soft Drinks are a preferred option in summer
The leading soft and aerated players in the country are Coco-Cola and PepsiCo. The soft and aerated drink varieties include carbonated and non-carbonated versions available in bottles, family packs, cans and fountain dispensers. Apart from the range of cola drinks like Pepsi, Coca- Cola, Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, there are fizzy flavours like orange, cloudy lime, clear lime and mango which are preferred as any time and any season options.

PepsiCo India, which is the country's leading food & beverage company, launched its packaged nimbu paani, Nimbooz by 7Up early this month. "The lemon juice in a convenient pack has been developed to suit Indian tastes and preferences," says Punita Lal, executive director- marketing, PepsiCo India.

In order to maximise its summer sales and en-cash on the king of fruits demand, the company also added a new 'Aamsutra' concept for its much important drink 'Slice' mango drink. "Slice is the fastest growing mango drink brand in the country, "says Homi Battiwalla, business head, juice & juice drinks, PepsiCo India.

South India is the lead market for mango drinks in the country. Andhra Pradesh is the biggest mango market and also the fastest growing market for Slice and mango drinks in the country. Tamil Nadu is amongst the top three states and Slice is the market-leader in Tamil Nadu, he added

Tea, much sought after beverage:
Apart from the major tea players in the country like Brooke Bond, Lipton to name a few, now Metro Cash and Carry India, the international leader in self-service wholesale, is also offering its range of premium teabags under its H-Line and HORECA select brands to cater to the table and kitchen needs of the hospitality industry. Competitively priced, these premium tea bags are available exclusively at Metro Cash & Carry wholesale centers in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata.

Tea bags from the H-Line brand come in 9 popular flavours - Cardamom, Lemon, Earl Grey, English breakfast, Masala, Ginger, Darjeeling, Assam Tea and Green Tea. Each tea bag is individually wrapped in envelopes to protect the flavour and hygiene of the product. Available in convenient pack sizes of 50 and 100s, the range is priced between Rs 62 and Rs 215.

Coffee: The growing demand
India is the sixth prime producer of coffee in the world after Brazil, Vietnam, Columbia, Indonesia and Ethiopia. The country accounts for around 4.5% of the global coffee production.

Much of all production takes place in the southern states of the country with hilly scapes of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and North Eastern region (Assam, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh0. India is famed for its Monsoon Malabar variety.
Coffee is a much preferred drink in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Coffee bars like Cafe Coffee Day and Barista are thronged with enthusiasm along with the traditional filter coffee serving outlets.