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Early onset of summer, increasing health awareness, and easing of COVID restrictions to drive sales of healthy, non-carbonated drinks this summer, Retail News, ET Retail


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New Delhi: Manufacturers of fruit based juices, milkshakes, and rejuvenation drinks expect to witness pre COVID-19 level of sales due to early onset of summers, increased health awareness, and eased COVID restrictions across the country.

The last two summers, beverage makers witnessed muted demand due to the impact of pandemic on retail and HoReCa (hotel, restaurant, catering) segment, reduced discretionary spending by consumers, and disruptions in supply chain.

Sharing expectations for 2022 summer season, flavoured milkshake brand, Hershey India’s Managing Director, Geetika Mehta said, “We foresee that our out-of-home categories will expand this summer with increased consumption. We see our sales and growth rates going back to pre-covid levels with businesses and public activities opening up again.”

“This will be accentuated by the early onset of summer. The retail confidence is high this time around and most marketers would be eyeing healthy double digit growths this season,” Mehta added.

Natural juice and milkshake brand, Raw Pressery, shared that in March, the brand performance exceeded expectations with revenue tripling pre covid numbers. Sreejit Nair, who is the chief growth officer of Raw Pressery’s parent company said, “The April and May estimates are much higher given the increased distribution and preference for healthier beverages.”

Talking about the factors supporting growth of beverage makers, Nair said that the buying behaviour of the consumer has changed dramatically post pandemic. “Preference for healthier alternatives is more pronounced today, and brands that can be classified as “better for you” will benefit from this trend. ” He further highlighted that quick commerce has facilitated the growth of the brand and the 30 minute delivery is a boon for any beverage brand in summer.

Sharing insights on growth expectations, Frooti maker, Parle Agro’s Joint Managing Director and CMO, Nadia Chauhan said that the brand is looking at a very aggressive growth rate this year with 30-35 percent volume growth over last calendar year.

Similarly, artisanal beverage brand Malaki expects a 4-5 fold growth compared to last summer, shared Mohit Bhatia, co- founder of the company, adding that the brand has opened new warehouses, increased inventory levels, and hired more people in operational and marketing roles to make the most of the summer season.

According to a report, the non-carbonated beverages segment is expected to expand at a CAGR of 20.52 per cent during FY 2022 – 27 period and reach Rs 781.88 billion by FY 2027. In FY 2020, the market was valued at Rs 153.33 billion.

Talking about the increasing popularity of non-carbonated drinks, Manish Gupta, Lead – Products at Accenture in India said, “Consumer preference for health and wellness has led to a big push towards healthy and preservative free beverages. We are increasingly seeing the popularity of non-carbonated drinks such as cold pressed juices, 100% fruit juices, nut based and plant based drinks, enhanced and flavoured water among others. The shift towards cutting down on sugar laden drinks and demand for more natural products which are fresh, pure and organic have fueled the growth of innovative D2C (direct-to-consumer) players in this category.”

Resonating the thought, Rajat Wahi, Partner at Deloitte India, said, “The strong and early onset of summer is likely to see the non-alcohol beverages market see strong growth after 2 years of major disruptions, and both, the carbonated and non-carbonated segments should see volumes reach or even exceed pre-Covid levels, with non-carbonated segment expected to grow at a much higher pace than carbonated beverages on the back of increased health awareness, lots of new variants, better availability and affordability, and a lot of packaging solutions.”

Speaking on the impact of inflation and corresponding price hikes, Mehta from Hershey India said, “Inflation is here to stay for some time. We are looking at the opportunities to improve our processes and determine ways of managing our input costs better. A price-hike is something that we would take only as a last resort.”

Raw Pressery’s spokesperson shared that the brand does not intend to take up pricing during the season and expects economies of scale to absorb the increasing costs. Similarly, Parle Agro said that the company has not taken any price hikes for its beverage brands.





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