Saturday, April 28, 2012: 06:16:18 PM

Food Processing News

Bharti-Walmart enter ready–to-drink segment

Fruit-based beverages launched under Great Value brand to increase penetration of fruit drinks in India

Bharti-Walmart, the B2B JV between the domestic and international retailing giants, has forayed into the ready-to-drink category with the launch of a fruit based beverage under the international Great Value brand. The range of beverages will be available in fruit, cola, jaljeera and milk flavours.

 
Interesting features of the range of ready-to-drink beverages include:
  • Flavours include mango, lemon, apple, litchi, pineapple, guava, jaljeera, masala cola
  • Range includes flavoured milk which includes kesar, elaichi, coffee and rose
  • The drinks are meant to quench thirst in the scorching summer in a healthy way
 
The range of beverages also includes the Great Value Aloe Vera Pineapple Drink, which combines the goodness of aloe vera and delicious taste of choicest pineapples. Packaging options include the 1 litre bottle pack at Rs 55, 2 litre bottles priced at Rs 75 for mango and Rs 81 for litchi and guava. The drinks offer seven varieties which also include lemon, apple and mixed fruit.
 
Fruit juices in India
 
However, the concept of pure fruit juices is yet to take off completely in the Indian market as there are still certain impediments. One major factor is that the majority of the domestic food processors are not equipped to produce at the highest standards maintaining the highest safety and hygiene. On the other hand, international retailers of packaged fruit juices market the products at a higher cost and thereby have lesser penetration in the Indian market.
 
There are however cheaper processes that can help manufacture healthier juices, according Dr V H Potty, a renowned food technologist. He explains, “Comminute fruit juices, containing almost all the goodness present in the whole fruit, can be made adapting the existing technology. Whole fruit is crushed and comminuted to reduce the particle size of the pulp to about 100-500 micron levels and the yield can be as high as 97% in a fruit like orange or grapefruit, only residue rejected being the seeds. The product so obtained is a highly concentrated beverage base which can be diluted to the desired taste threshold to get ready-to-serve (RTS) drinks. Major advantages for such a product include lower cost of the finished product and significantly higher health benefits. Probably other fruits like apple, guava, plums, peaches and the like also could be processed into comminuted beverage base for preparing more healthy RTS drinks. The process for comminuted beverage type of products involves selecting fully ripe fruits, their washing, steaming, cutting into pieces, mixing with sugar solution, blending, pulping and making a homogeneous product which can then be formulated into RTS drinks.”
 
Food expert and professional artist Barun K Mukherjee explains, “I think there are very few players in the market today who offer quality juices at a reasonable price. The market therefore is still quit nascent.”
 
The entry of Bharti-Walmart in the fruit beverage category therefore is likely to be a positive step in the increasing the penetration of packaged fruit beverages in India.
 
Tias Chakraborty
 

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