Mother Dairy India Ltd (MDIL) has decided to resurrect its fresh and frozen vegetable brand Safal. A Rs 165-crore brand (including exports), the Safal portfolio includes fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen vegetables and several processed products like ketchup, sauces and jams.
Interestingly, while Mother Dairy’s rejig exercise for Safal consists of a foray into the Rs 110-crore packaged fruit juice (products which contain 100 per cent fruit juice) market, the company is at the same time withdrawing from categories like fruit drinks (products which contain less than 20 per cent fruit juice content/pulp). Mother Dairy had a considerable presence in the latter through its Safal mango nectar and guava fruit drink, which were available in 200-ml tetrapaks.
The company has also decided not to focus on other processed foods such as ketchup, sauces, jams and frozen finger chips and frozen vegetables (excluding peas). In fact, it was Mother Dairy which pioneered the concept of branded frozen vegetables in the country with Safal. Though the company plans to focus on Safal peas—Safal is the market leader in the frozen peas category with over 60 per cent market share nationally—marketing of other frozen vegetables is not a focus area.
MDIL chief executive Paul Thachil begs to differ. According to him, the company plans to ‘bring the focus back on ketchup and jams once the newly launched juice stabilises.’ However, as far as taking the fruit drinks off the shelf is concerned, Mother Dairy’s strategy is clear: “Fruit drinks being out-of-home consumption products need mass distribution, and we have decided we will not focus on them,” Mr Thachil told FE.
The fruit drinks category is dominated by biggies such as Parle Agro (Frooti), Godrej (Jumpin, Xs), Coca-Cola India (Maaza), Pepsi(Slice) and others.
Not surprisingly, Mother Dairy has launched its new product Safal packaged juice in 1-litre pack, specifically targeted at in-home consumption. Contract-packed at Godrej Industries’ facility, Safal juice will be launched initially in top metros supported with an advertising campaign including a television commercial.
“Safal has a strong equity in fruits and vegetables space and we hope to leverage that,” says Mr Thachil.
Mother Dairy sees enormous scope for its brand to grow in the juice category which is currently dominated by just two players—PepsiCo India’s Tropicana and Dabur Foods’ Real. “The market is growing at a healthy rate of 20-25 per cent and with changing lifestyles and rising levels of health consciousness, the market is likely to grow to Rs 400 crore in the next 4-5 years,” says Mr Thachil.
The company hopes to achieve 15-20 per cent market share for its juice in the first financial year.