Horlicks, a familiar name among homemakers and mothers, is heading for change. The flagship brand of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (GSKCH) is seeking new pastures for the brand under the broad health and food category.
This could mean that the name long associated with an energy drink and the occasional biscuits could be tagged to, say, yoghurt or cereals. The company is eyeing acquisitions that could make it happen.
The brand that accounts for R1,500 crore in annual sales has in the last two years made attempts to move beyond its one-product image.
For decades, Horlicks rode high as a milk substitute in an Indian market in which milk was scarce or expensive. It has had to reinvent itself to keep going.
Last month, GSKCH announced plans to invest R300 crore on repositioning Horlicks as the company’s umbrella brand. The FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) major said it would relaunch Horlicks with a new look and promote the brand across media, including the digital and mobile marketing space.
At present, under Horlicks, the company currently sells various health drinks such as Lite Horlicks, Women’s Horlicks and Junior Horlicks. It also sells biscuits, noodles, energy drink and nutribars. It is now gearing up to consolidate its current portfolio and foray into new segments.
“Horlicks has a strong equity and 70 per cent of GSK’s global turnover comes from Horlicks. We are now looking at extending the Horlicks equity to other categories. The idea is to further consolidate categories that are new and at the same time look at opportunities in other categories,” said Prashant Pandey, head, Horlicks, GSKCH.
The company had last relaunched Horlicks in 2005 and since then achieved a volume sales of 12 per cent.
It also recently launched an instant noodles brand called Foodles. Priced at R15 and a direct competition to Nestle’s Maggi, the company is looking to strengthen its distribution presence across India before rolling out newer variants and smaller SKUs.
“The company has been keen on acquisitions for quite sometime now but nothing substantial has materialised. With a surplus cash of Rs 800 crore, the possibility of an acquisition is on the cards. The company’s focus on expanding the Horlicks brand is quite clear and it may enter new segments under the food and health category,” said Anand Shah, FMCG analyst with Angel Broking.