Soft drinks brand Rasna is betting big on novel product lines to stay connected with the consumer. With summer spelling boom time for most beverage companies, the soft drink major with over 80% market share in the powder concentrates segment is looking at new products like mocktails, soups, liquid crushes and carbonated drinks for growth.
“Covid had dampened a lot of interest in beverages because people were moving from cold beverages to hot beverages. But like revenge tourism happening, I believe both flights and hotels are now full and a lot of drinking is also happening,” Piruz Khambatta, Chairman, Rasna Group, said.
Today most soft drinks are in short supply because of raw material availability, he pointed out. “We used to have a cover for 15 days which has come down to 2 days,” he said. “The shortage is not because of production issues alone. Because of the Russia-Ukraine war, plastic is in short supply, Transportation has been hit,” he explained.
Shipping costs have gone up because we have no shipping lines or ports of our own, he said. Therefore, the company is putting in extra efforts into marketing and selling novel products like Jaljeera, Shikangi, lychee, he explained.
The beverages category contributes 8-10 %of the total food & grocery (F&G) market in India. Based in Ahmedabad, Rasna is a soft drink brand owned by Pioma Industries. The family-owned business has manufacturing facilities in locations across India such as Mahij, Kalol, Saij, Mehsana, Daman, Ambala, Dehradun, Chittoor, Tanuku. The product portfolio across national and international markets includes offerings such as Rasna Fruit Plus, Litro, GoFruit,
According to Khambatta, people are going back to beverages and unlike the past when there were like lime, mango and orange, the taste of consumers has evolved after the pandemic. People have been experimenting a lot with food and drink and even desserts. Today we are seeing a lot of traction in the HORECA segment for liquid syrup and even in regular households, he said.
Rasna has largest number of beverage concentrates – around 64 concentrates at almost all price points from rupee 1 pack, `2 pack, `5 pack and some categories with and without sugar. “The company is now present in the ready to drink (RTD) category where customers can make mocktails at home. We are also investing more in the liquid range and are expanding from the HORECA segment to regular retails customers,” he said.
Generally, all the new products are piloted in big cities and if the products are successful, these are then taken to smaller towns, he explained. The company has also entered into the instant soups segment (soup in a cup) for which the company plans to go pan-India. Rasna has already been present in fruit juices and plans to promote this segment as well.
Significantly, in exports, the company claims that it has been getting a good response from Africa and Latin America. Earlier these countries were not looking at India seriously and were focused on China, Malaysia and Turkey. Traditionally, the company’s markets were the Middle East, UK, Singapore and neighbouring countries, he said.
Exports account for almost 30% of the company turnover, he said, without divulging any financial details. Rasna has picked Indian cartoon Chhota Bheem as its new brand ambassador. Through this move, the company is aiming at offering a platform to children where they would have fun along with learning.