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Steamy competition in malted drinks mart

03-August-2004
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Steamy competition in malted drinks mart

Major players in the malted food drinks (MFD) market are in an innovation mode in order to increase volumes and hike their share of the market pie. Complan, the white drink from Heinz India, has launched a caramel flavour, adding to the existing ones - chocolate, mango and plain. Bournvita, the brown drink from Cadbury India, has been relaunched with a new formulation called Super Chargers, consisting of nutrients like zinc, manganese and vitamin B12.

In February 2004, another MFD major, Nestle India, repositioned brown brand Milo and created space for new brand NesQuick. Samsika Marketing Consultants CMD Jagdeep Kapoor finds the MFD market upscale and premium. It needs to be promoted among the middle and lower-middle classes. Mr Kapoor feels that a double-digit growth is possible, if the right stock keeping units (SKUs) are made available.

Cadbury does not consider new flavours from rival brands as a threat to its market position. A Cadbury spokesperson said that most other products offer a generic benefit of physical energy, which is blurring the differentiation among various brands. It expects the relaunch to reinforce its brand equity among core consumers and acquire new consumers.

Industry sources said that Horlicks (from Smithkline Beecham with over 65 per cent market share) is the leader and has been around for 60-70 years. Complan’s chocolate flavour accounts for 75 per cent of the total turnover of that brand, while the plain flavour accounts for about 20 per cent.

At the end of the first half of 2004, the white MFD market accounts for over 65 per cent of the total, while the rest belongs to the brown variety. Bournvita has a share of about 17 per cent among all MFD brands and a share of 47 per cent among brown drinks.

Other major brands include — Boost, Maltova and Viva (from Smithkline Beecham having presence in both brown and white categories) and Nutramul from Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation. The total MFD market is currently estimated to be over Rs 1,000 crore. Sources said that it is not growing more than 1-2 per cent per annum at present. The myriad options available to a consumer are being held responsible for the dismal growth, as in case of most FMCG categories. Smaller packs, refill packs (that cost 10-15 per cent less than tins) and a distribution strategy that reaches to more retailers are considered to be the remedies.

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