Non-alcoholic beverage: Desi cos, startups force biggies to innovate

Even Rival PepsiCo is considering to add flavours and is experimenting with new flavours.

NEW DELHI: The recent surge of local favours by India companies and entry of startups, which 
are ready to experiment, is transforming non-alcoholic beverage market and forcing biggies to add more flavours in the menu and to expand their product portfolio.

“Consumer’s preferences are changing. It makes sense to evolve with the changing consumer taste and adding more seasonal and local favours. In next 3-4 years, we will be focusing on fruit circular economy and will add more flavours to our beverage basket,” a senior executive with Coca Cola said, adding that the company has already committed Rs 11,000 crore for this till 2023.

Even Rival PepsiCo is considering to add flavours and is experimenting with new flavours. The company is planning to add to its portfolio, including sparkling rose cola, a senior executive said.

The change is also initiated by sudden surge of startups, which are bold in experimenting with the flavours. For Instance, Mumbai-based startup Coolberg, conceptualised by Pankaj Aswani and Yashika Keswani, makes malt-based flavoured non-alcoholic beers to bridge the gap between beer drinkers and soft drink consumers.

It has become an instant hit with youth who do not consume alcohol for religious or cultural belief. The company has recently secured $3.5 million in Series-A round led by RB Investments and a pool of investors from Indian Angel Network.

“The Indian beverage market is witnessing an interesting transformation with an increased demand for new flavours. All our variants are unique, refreshing and new to market. Our R&D team is strong and keeps a close eye on consumer needs,” said Yashika Keswani, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of the company. 

Another company Svami is also gaining popularity. It is targeting smaller towns with its five different products - Original Tonic Water, Light Tonic Water, Cucumber Tonic Water, Grapefruit Tonic Water, and Ginger Ale. Svami soon plans to launch a soda and a lemon-based drink in the ready-to-drink category. 
Even homegrown biggies like Amul, which has already got a fanbase with Amul Chhachh, is looking for more variant of flavoured milk and lassi and chhach next year.

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The New Indian Express