Home run

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Published: November 15, 2015 12:05:18 AM

From ready-to-drink aam panna to haldi doodh in different flavours, companies are repackaging cherished tastes, evoking a sense of nostalgia in consumers

As children, returning home, covered in sweat and dust, our eyes would beam towards the dining table in search of that glass tumbler containing the ice-cold aam panna (mango ale). Desperate to get a sip of it, we would often have to wait as mother would stir it to perfection—the sound of ice cubes and the spoon clattering against the glass making the wait worth it. Once the aam panna was gulped down and our thirst quenched, the feeling was, simply put, heavenly. Fast forward to winters and we would be sitting cross-legged on the floor waiting for rice to be served. Right next to our plate would be a tall glass of spicy rasam. Spices and small granules of vegetables would often float on top of the rasam, which you could either eat with the rice or enjoy as a tangy appetiser.

These are only a couple of traditional flavours that have been served in Indian homes over the years. There are many more like kala khatta, jaljeera, jamun, etc, that have dominated our palates while growing up.

Taking note of this, many companies are now repackaging these cherished tastes and serving them in a ready-to-consume form. Be it the home-made haldi doodh (milk with turmeric) or the summer special aam panna, there’s something for everyone.

True to its tagline, ‘Drinks and Memories’, Indian beverage brand Paper Boat unveiled three new classic flavours in December last year. The three flavours—sattu, chilled rasam and ice tea—join existing flavours like aam ras (mango juice), jaljeera, kokum, jamun, aam panna and golgappe ka pani. With the addition of these new flavours, Paper Boat, a division of New Delhi-based Hector Beverages, has extended its repertoire of repackaging diverse tastes from across India. “Every region in India has a particular drink associated with it. In north India, we spend winters dreaming about the arrival of mangoes. The mango season starts with chatpata aachaar, khatta-meetha aam papad and tangy aam panna being made at home by our mothers and grandmothers. Similarly, in coastal areas, a glass of kokum after a cricket match not only quenched the thirst of little boys, but also instilled a deep love for kokum in them,” says Neeraj Kakkar, CEO and founder, Hector Beverages. “These are the drinks and memories we wanted to share with the world. The diversity of cultures in this country has given us unique drinks, recipes of which
have been passed down for centuries. We are here to find a way of sharing these gastronomical gems with the world.”

Their first product was the energy drink Tzinga. “It was a hit instantly. Kids in colleges were surviving on Tzinga. After the success of Tzinga, we used to have endless chats over lunch about the beverage industry in India. That’s when Paper Boat was born… on our lunch table,” Kakkar says.

After sattu, chilled rasam and ice tea, Paper Boat recently launched another new flavour: anar (pomegranate). The brand has many more plans lined up for this season. “This season, we plan to focus on bringing delicious drinks from the country’s north-eastern belt. We plan to launch kanji, coconut water, neer mor and badam milk very soon,” says Kakkar.

Haldi doodh holds a special place in almost everyone’s hearts in India. Call it the original immunity booster or a natural healer, haldi dhoodh is an age-old traditional beverage that is consumed in almost every Indian household.

Now, Odisha-based dairy product start-up Milk Mantra has brought back the same recipe, but with a touch of new.

Its Moo Shake (the tetra pack costs R25), which hit the markets this year in Bengaluru, is the world’s first milkshake with haldi (turmeric). Moo Shake contains the active ingredient ‘curcumin’ with 95% purity—curcumin is an extract from turmeric, which gives it the characteristic yellow colour, and is also believed to have numerous health benefits.

The drink comes in four flavours: peachy strawberry, slurpy mango, nutty badam and oh-so-chocolate.

“Dairy stood out as a sector, where there was a huge gap as far as factors like consumers’ need for innovative products and impact on farmer lives were concerned. Today, our conscious capitalist way of doing business has leveraged the Milky Moo brand to impact 35,000 farmers in four years. It reaches 250,000 households every day,” says Srikumar Misra, founder and CEO, Milk Mantra.

“Moo Shake was developed after three years of research and product trials. The inspiration wasn’t as much traditional, as it was to bring a functional benefit to milk. While modern research globally is focusing on the health benefits of curcumin, there wasn’t any consumer product available that brought all aspects together—health, taste and a direct functional benefit. Stabilising turmeric and milk commercially was one dimension. Packaging it with brand messaging and a proposition to make it appealing for consumers, who have a psychological taste of ‘haldi milk’, was the other,” Misra explains.

There are several other examples in the market as well that carry a similar traditional essence: Mother Dairy’s mishti doi, tadka chach and kheer, and Amul’s Masti Buttermilk are some prominent examples.

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