Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Water ++ India up for it?

My Professor once said, "The Tongue is the most ruthless organ of our body - simply because it will not accept the same taste again and again. Change is mandatory for it" This fact has also rubbed off on our appetite for water I assume! For the past couple of months, if you have noticed little blue bottles like these in nearby retail stores, you surely have witnessed what I call Enhanced Water. It is normal water with additives like minute sweeteners, natural flavours, vitamins, minerals, etc. This segment of drinking water or rather flavoured drinking water is a new entrant into the Indian market though it has existed for a while abroad. It is seen as a healthy alternative to soft beverages that may contain fizz and sweeteners (which obviously aren't the healthy type) Flavoured water could be seen as an extension to the regular bottled drinking water market

Top players abroad : Hint, Clearly Canadian, SoBe Life Water, Glaceau Vitamin Water, etc.

In India : B'lue is a product jointly offered by Danone (famous product : Evian water) and Narang (famous product: Lindt) It is sweetened flavoured water in pale blue colour. It comes in three unique flavours namely: Guava, Peach and Apple.

How did this concept pop up? 

 - Most people across the globe don't drink water much - the extra effort is often avoided. 
 - Regular Water is simply boring!
 - Obesity is on the rise and since other beverages that contain sugar and fizz are undoubtedly bad for the body,  the whole concept of flavoured water came into the picture. 

Nevertheless, this is not a new concept since flavoured water dates back to several centuries where history quotes several instances of kings (especially in India) consuming flavoured water (possibly by Tulsi or other natural herbs)

So, here's a note on what I opine could be the strengths and weaknesses of such a product in India


1.)  India is such a fizz loving country. Sweet beverages are also a long time favourite. Doesn't that explain why Thumbs Up, Coke and Pepsi are still the roaring beverages of the market? Pure water and added flavours? not really sure how this mere combo could rock the market!
2.) They are priced above the carbonated drinks, which may slightly hinder their mass acceptance (atleast initially)

Strong points:

1.)  It is healthier than the regular aerated drinks and squashes. So, it perfectly targets all the health concious Indians
2.)  The product has entered the Indian market in a time where more new products are being well received and tried. However is the Indian market ready for this? We'll just have to wait and see

Bisleri, which enjoys a 65% share in the bottled mineral water segment is also eyeing on this market and will soon be launching its own flavoured drinks. With more and more companies venturing into this segment, future seems to hold a lot for this product.