NourishCo Beverages, a PepsiCo- Tata Global Beverages joint venture, is targeting its soon to be nationally launched fortified energy drink, Lehar Gluco Plus, at BOP (Bottom of Pyramid) consumers. Priced at Rs 5 for a 200 ml pack, the lemon-flavoured drink is packed in plastic cups.
The drink was launched as a pilot in Maharashtra a couple of months ago. “We are unlocking the value segment in the mass hydration space. It is a very large opportunity,” said Ashok Namboodari, Head, Sales & Marketing, NourishCo Beverages, adding, “We are creating a new category with this product in the affordable packaged beverage space. The product works like an instant re-charger.”
Drawing inspiration from the BOP theory of management guru, Late CK Prahalad, the JV seeks to enter the segment that, according to Prahalad, has a huge untapped potential.
The JV seeks to leverage consumers’ trust in a Tata brand and its expertise in low-cost consumer products and combine it with PepsiCo’s distribution strength and marketing expertise.
According to industry estimates, over 20 per cent of Indians are yet untouched by any packaged drink. The brand targets SEC B, C and D. “We look at the people for whom it is difficult to afford highly priced packaged beverage,” said Namboodari. The TG, according to him, includes labourers, rickshaw pullers, auto-drivers, door-to-door sales persons, housemaids, and people who belong to the lower income strata.
“It is difficult for consumers at BOP to buy highly priced beverages and they also can’t afford large volume packs, but that does not mean that they don’t necessarily spend,” Namboodari said, adding, “They want price and quality and they don’t necessarily buy the cheapest alternatives. For them brand matters a lot and they are ready to pay more for added value.”
Sharing consumer insight which helped shape the product, Namboodari said, “Consumers at BOP also wish to have an affordable and safe drink that refreshes and recharges them to work harder and more efficiently in order to perform better and earn more.”
Though the product is still in the pilot stage, NourishCo Beverages has its communication strategy ready, which would focus on the family’s wellness attached to consumption of the product, and try and build an emotional connect.
“Loss of energy means loss of a day or more that could result in a loss of a day’s productivity and subsequently the day’s earning. The product will address the issue of ‘loss of productivity’. So, this is the product that will help one work harder to make their family eat well,” said Namboodari.
As the brand targets consumers from the lower income strata, the packs carry print in regional languages. While Rediffusion Y&R will take care of NourishCo’s creative duties, the media strategies will be handled by Mindshare.
The rural bumps
According to industry experts, India’s health and wellness space is growing at a fast pace and is likely to touch Rs 55,000 crore by financial year 2015, from the current size of Rs 10,000 crore.
Though Lehar Gluco Plus is priced at a lower level in comparison to the other existing drinks in the market, the challenge for the JV would be to make consumers understand the benefits of the packaged beverage and develop a habit to buy it.
This, according to Namboodari, was a challenge, but he felt that consumers at BOP also aspired to use brands and they could spend, provided they found value in doing that. According to him, the consumers at BOP were difficult to win, but they had amazing stickiness once they became your consumer.
Though powdered glucose products like Heinz’s Glucon-D, Emami’s Zandu Glucose Charge and Wipro’s Glucovita are available in the market, Lehar Gluco Plus, being a beverage targeted at the BOP consumer, has hardly any competition in the market.
Lehar Gluco Plus will be the second product after Himalayan packaged water to be manufactured and marketed under the 50:50 joint venture NourishCo Beverages Ltd. PepsiCo has another alliance with Unilever, under which it sells Lipton Ice Tea.
Through the alliance, PepsiCo hopes to be seen as a wholesome beverages company, while Tata Global Beverages gets a larger foothold in the segment.