Mango drink makers could do with a sip of their own products. They are sweating it out in a tough battle where the No. 2 slot is where the real action is.
Summer seems to have set in early for firms in the Rs. 3,200-crore mango drink market. Firms are doing everything - from roping in Bollywood biggies to boosting marketing expenditure and adding infrastructure muscle - to stay ahead in the competition.
With Coca Cola firmly positioned at the number one spot in the Indian mango drink market with its Maaza brand, its global rival PepsiCo and spunky local player Parle Agro - from whose stable Thums Up was sold to Coca Cola - are vying for the second slot in a market that is growing at 7% per annum.
Parle's Frooti is currently at number 3 in the pecking order.
Intense competition notwithstanding, Coca Cola is turning out to be the clear winner in this high stakes market. Maaza, which currently has a 47% market share, grew its sales by 15% to become a R1,500-crore brand in 2011-12, according to research firm Nielsen. Parle Agro's Frooti's sales lost 2% during the period, while PepsiCo's Slice crawled up by 1%.
In terms of market share in packaged/bottled mango drinks overal, Maaza was followed by Slice at 26% and Frooty at 16%.
Both PepsiCo and Parle Agro said they do not subscribe to Nielsen numbers.
For the first time in its brand history, Parle Agro has roped in Shah Rukh Khan to double its marketshare and shore up dwindling sales. Khan will take on woman peer Katrina Kaif, who endorses Slice. Relatively less known but youthful Imran Khan and Parineeti Chopra are brand ambassadors of Maaza.
"This year, aided by various marketing inputs and infrastructure expansion plans, we are looking at a 40-50% growth in the brand - to more than double our current market share," said Nadia Chauhan, JMD, Parle Agro. "We needed to be ready in terms of infrastructure to be able to drive such a large growth with the kind of marketing push the brand is being given."
Parle Agro will spend R40 crore for an ad campaign, with special outdoor focus, that will be run the entire summer across media.
PepsiCo meanwhile has already kickstarted its summer campaign featuring Kaif with a claim that Slice is the best drink.
"For us the growth is certainly not a concern," said Homi Battiwalla, category director, colas, hydration and mango-based beverages, PepsiCo India. "This is a very dynamic catgeory and we have crafted a differentiation."
"Our brand ambassadors epitomise the young India," said Neeraj Garg, VP, juice business, Coca-Cola India. "They will further strengthen Maaza's brand equity and appeal and help us take the brand to the next level."
There are three broad packaging categories in the mango drinks market; PET, tetra pack and the glass bottle. While Maaza is the market leader across all categories, Frooti has a 30% share within PET and 60% in tetra pack.