Cola is passé, nimbu pani is in. But it is still a war.
PepsiCo, the multinational mammoth in the sugared water business, is fighting again the Parle group with which it once fought in a war that resulted in the eventual acquisition of Thums Up by big rival Coca-Cola.
This time, the sugared water in question is the homegrown lemonade, branded and re-invented for a consumerist avatar, but still the self-same thirst quencher.
Pepsi, which has already embraced Indian-ness with snack brands like Kurkure, was the first to offer packaged “nimbu pani”
under its “Nimbooz” brand starting at Rs 10. “The nimbu paani segment will grow mainly because of a major shift in consumer behaviour,” said Nadia Chauhan, joint managing director at Parle Agro Pvt Ltd, which recently launched its own packaged lemon juice a brand called LMN.
Pepsi’s arch-rival Coke is yet to hit this niche segment. It confirms nothing, rules out nothing.
“We continue to explore a wide variety of beverage opportunities like juice and juice based drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, flavoured water etc,” a Coca-Cola India spokesman told Hindustan Times by e-mail.
Alpana Titus, executive vice-president-marketing, flavours, at PepsiCo India, said the potential annual consumption for the lemon drink is equivalent to 100 crore cases, 70 per cent of it in homes. Nimbooz wants to sip a bit of that in the packaged segment, aided by preservatives and advertisements.
(With inputs from Radhika Pancholi)