Enhanced-water sector set for action as Danone ups the ante in brand-building

Written by Lalitha Srinivasan | Mumbai | Updated: Jul 16 2014, 14:06pm hrs
As Danone India, part of the French multinational group Danone, is drawing up brand-building plans to promote its fortified water brand Blue, Bisleri International is gearing up for the enhanced-water segment foray within six months. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola India is exploring the possibilities of launching its global enhanced-water brands in India. In 2007, Coca-Cola acquired New York-based Energy Brands with brands such as Vitaminwater, Fruitwater and Smartwater.

After launching its nutrient water brands Tata Water Plus and Tata Gluco Plus in South, Tata Global Beverages (TGBL), with its joint venture partner PepsiCo India, is now getting ready to roll out Tata Water Plus across the country.

In essence, the R300-crore value-added water sector in India would witness a lot of action in the coming months.

Recognising the growth potential of this sector, FMCG companies are sharpening their focus on this niche segment to woo health-conscious consumers. At present, major players in this sector include, Danones Blue, Tata Water Plus and Tata Gluco Plus.

On the companys strategic plans, Tarun Arora, chief executive officer (India), Danone Waters, said, Our objective is to build the brand Blue through creating consumer awareness, mass media advertising and

consumer-engagement programmes. To raise the brands availability, we are extending our distribution network.

After test marketing for over a year, Danone Narang Beverages, a joint venture between French foods major Danone and Mumbai-based Narang Group, launched Blue in 2013. Through experiential marketing, we will be promoting this product, which contains vitamins and minerals, said Arora.

The company has recently revised the price of Blue from R30 to R32 (500 ml). Blue is currently sold in China and Indonesia on a different platform.

Across the road, Parle Bisleri is putting in place its strategic plans to foray into this niche sector within a few months. We will be launching our enhanced water brands very soon. As consumers are increasingly becoming health-conscious, we plan to introduce brands which are fortified with vitamins and minerals, said Prakash Chauhan, chairman of Bisleri International.

Like Danone, Bisleri is extending its distribution by 30% to promote its new launches.

A Coca-Cola India spokesperson said the company is evaluating opportunities to enter this niche segment in India.When the time is right, we can rely on our global portfolio of brands and products to choose a suitable option, he added.

NourishCo, the 50:50 JV between TGBL and PepsiCo India, has built a pipeline of innovations that will be used to fuel growth and create newer hydration solutions, a TGBL spokesperson said. We have recently launched Tata Water Plus in Gujarat. Tata Gluco Plus is now available in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and west Maharashtra, he added.

In the first phase, the company had launched nutrient water brands in Andhra Pradesh and TN in 2012. The company plans to complete the national roll out of Tata Water Plus by 2015.