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INTERVIEW

“Water industry may grow at CAGR of 33% by FY 2018”
Monday, 02 May, 2016, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
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Weaver Aqua Everflo was set up in 2001 to garner the potential of the fast-growing bottled water industry in India. The company introduced water treatment processes like Reverse Osmosis and Re-Mineralisation processes, a very few brands can boast of even today. Over the past 15 years, O2rise has come a long way from being recognised as a brand for packaged drinking water to a brand synonymous with uncompromising quality which is certified by ISO 9001:2001 & ISI. Sunil Jain, director, Weaver Aqua Everflo, in an email interaction with Anurag More throws light on the latest developments pertaining to his company as well as the current scenario of bottled water in India. Excerpts:

What is the current scenario of bottled water industry in India?
The bottled water industry in India is dominated by the top players, but they struggle to penetrate the smaller non-tier-I cities because of poor infrastructure. This is giving an opportunity for small regional players to build their market share in regional market. The market share of unorganised players is anticipated to grow if the demand for bottled water keeps pace. This could severely affect the revenues of organised players, as these small local players eat into their market by imitating their brands and charging similar prices in the market. The bottled water industry is also much unorganised sector at the moment because of the lack in logistics and distribution network. To fulfil the entire requirement, the focus should be on logistics and setting up new plants for higher and better service to be provided to the consumer and meet their needs and demands.

How do you see the industry going ahead?
As mentioned earlier, it’s an unorganised sector at the moment, but the scope of getting it organised is 100 times possible in the future because it is picking up from an unorganised to organised part. The bottled water industry in India was growing at a CAGR of 30% for the last three years and is currently valued at Rs 60 bn approximately. The industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 33% approximately by FY 2018 due to the influx of overseas tourists, a rise in per capita income changes in lifestyle.

What are the drivers that have impact on the industry?
Rising health concerns as well as improving standard of living amongst consumers is likely to boost the consumption of packaged water in India which will drive the manufacturer to provide a better quality and better service to the consumers.

What are the challenges for growth?
Traditional water purifying methods and an increase in the use of water purifiers, which need a one-time investment are a big threat to the growth of the bottled water market in India. Also the poor infrastructure, poor roads and transportation and less skilled human resources also join the challenges faced in the industry.

How is the industry coping with the challenges?

The government is helping the manufacturers but there are lot of lacuna in the system which are not giving proper infrastructure support to us and also training programmes have been initiated by companies to skill the level of the human resource and it is getting better day by day.

What are the trends that you have witnessed in the industry?
The current trend is packaging in India. Earlier the pricing was the point of concern and now the packaging is concerned. In India, consumers prefer smaller packaging. Also many companies have wide range of packaging formats. Also there has been an entry of flavoured water in the market as well along with natural mineral drinking water. With the increased consumer awareness of the importance of having safe and high quality drinking water and the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle, more Indian consumers are opting for bottled water in their homes if they do not have water purifiers and when they are away from home. Bottled water recorded further growth in tier-II and tier-III cities of India during 2014 as well due to the rising health awareness towards the end of the review period.

Tell us about competitive landscapes.
Parle Bisleri Ltd continues to lead bottled water with an off-trade value share of 39%. The company maintains its leadership in the category due to high levels of consumer loyalty for its Bisleri brand and strong distribution. The image of the Bisleri brand continued to improve through digital media campaigns from 2014.  

Brief us about products offered by Weaver Aqua Everflo.
We have brands like O2rise and PumpUp which are available in the market. The latest product to offer is O2rise with added minerals. Since minerals can help to prevent the body leaching alkaline minerals from the bones and other tissues, helping to prevent problems like osteoporosis. The new product will have added minerals like Sodium Salt which works as pH booster and electrolyte replenishment, Potassium Salt which gives appealing taste to water and helps in digestion and Magnesium Salt which replenishes electrolytes in sprains, muscle cramps and fatigue.

We have also introduced more range of packaging like 20 litre, 5 litre, 2 litre, 1 litre, 200 ml, 500 ml bottles and small water cups. We have all kinds of ranges available from corporate needs to parties.

Also we are soon going to launch O2rise Gold which will have a supreme packaging and international look and state-of-the-art processing for bottling.

What makes you different from other players?
Looking at the competitors in the packaged water market, we are way too different and better to our competitors like Bisleri, Aquafina, Himalaya and others. Looking at our strength:
1) Our quality standard is very high. Every bottle of Weaver Aqua Everflo is put through a rigorous multi-stage purification process which includes micron filtration and ionisation. It acquires six stages of purification processes which ensure quality water that is pure and safe for drinking purpose. Good manufacturing is the strength, all the time processing in religiously monitored at every stage.

2) The pricing factor adds a huge difference as our products are available at a very reasonable cost to the consumers comparing to the pricing factor of Bisleri, Aquafina, Himalaya and others.

3) We have different range of products in different sizes, which cater to different needs of people as per their requirement. We offer a large range of products which attract consumers of all categories. For example: 1 and 2 litre, 200 ml or 500 ml pack is useful for individual buyers, 5 litre or 20 litre is useful for organisation and the small cups are used at a lot for parties and conferences. Therefore it attracts large number of customers.

4) With little belief in the distributor system, the company leverages its large fleet of trucks to supply bottled water directly to retailers through a system called 'Route Selling' where the driver of truck is trained to be a service person. This ensures that water supplied is fresh and bottles are in good shape.

5) The packaging is also very attractive and little different from the packaging offered by other brands in the water space.

Tell us about your expansion plans at Weaver Aqua.
We have our goals to be available at the national level. Currently we are available in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. We have also launched O2rise in Madhya Pradesh recently after the success and good response from consumers for PumpUp. We have also established three water plants in Bhopal, Indore and Damoh and fourth one will be again installed in Bhopal. Our next expansion is in the state of Rajasthan where we have already installed four water plants in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Sujangarh and Chhoti Khatu. The production will be active soon. With our current growth, I believe we will surely achieve our target very soon.
 
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