Thursday, September 29 2022

The Rasna soft drink brand is betting big on new product lines to keep in touch with the consumer. With the summer spelling boom for most beverage companies, the soft drink major with over 80% market share in the powdered concentrate segment is turning to new products like mocktails, soups, liquid crushes and soft drinks to grow.

“Covid had cooled a lot of interest in drinks because people were switching from cold drinks to hot drinks. But as revenge tourism is happening, I think the flights and hotels are now full and there is also a lot of alcohol,” said Piruz Khambatta, chairman of Rasna Group.

Today, most soft drinks are in short supply due to the availability of raw materials, he pointed out. “We used to have 15 day coverage that dropped to 2 days,” he said. “The shortage is not only due to production problems. Because of the Russian-Ukrainian war, plastic is scarce, transport has been affected,” he explained.

Transport costs have increased because we do not have shipping lines or ports of our own, he said. Therefore, the company is making extra efforts to market and sell new products like Jaljeera, Shikangi, lychee, he explained.

The beverage category accounts for 8-10% of the total food and grocery (F&G) market in India. Based in Ahmedabad, Rasna is a soft drink brand owned by Pioma Industries. The family business has manufacturing facilities in locations across India such as Mahij, Kalol, Saij, Mehsana, Daman, Ambala, Dehradun, Chittoor, Tanuku. The product portfolio in domestic and international markets includes offerings such as Rasna Fruit Plus, Litro, GoFruit,

According to Khambatta, people are coming back to drinks and unlike in the past when it was like lime, mango and orange, consumer tastes have evolved after the pandemic. People experimented a lot with food and drink and even desserts. Today we see a lot of traction in the HORECA segment for liquid syrup and even in ordinary households, he said.

Rasna has the largest number of drink concentrates – around 64 concentrates at almost all rupee prices 1 pack, `2 pack, `5 pack and some categories with and without sugar. “The company now has a presence in the ready-to-drink (RTD) category where customers can make mocktails at home. We are also investing more in the liquid range and expanding from the HORECA segment to regular retail customers,” he said.

Generally, all new products are tested in big cities and if the products are successful, they are then transferred to smaller cities, he explained. The company has also entered the instant soups (soup in a cup) segment for which the company plans to go pan-India. Rasna was already present in fruit juices and also intends to promote this segment.

Significantly, on export, the company claims to have had a good response from Africa and Latin America. Previously, these countries did not look seriously at India and focused on China, Malaysia and Turkey. Traditionally, the company’s markets have been the Middle East, the UK, Singapore and neighboring countries, he said.

Exports account for almost 30% of the company’s turnover, he said, without disclosing any financial details. Rasna has chosen Indian cartoon Chhota Bheem as its new brand ambassador. Through this move, the company aims to provide a platform for children where they would have fun while learning.

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