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INTERVIEW

"We look to be Asia’s largest clean-label beverage co"
Monday, 05 March, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Raw Pressery, founded in the year 2013, is one of the well-known and largest cold-pressed clean-label juice companies in India. Incorporated as part of Rakyan Beverages Pvt. Ltd in Mumbai, it is a vertically integrated company with in-house capabilities in farm-produce procurement, processing, manufacturing, cold-chain logistics, warehousing and distribution. Starting with dispensing eight types of juices, the company has sprouted into four categories – Benefits, Basics, Boosters and Soups with over 18 juices in its portfolio, which include the country’s first-ever bottled ‘Ganne Ka Rass’ i.e., sugarcane juice. The products are 100% natural and free of artificial additives such as sugar, preservatives, concentrates and flavours.

It is the only Indian company to use the globally-acclaimed revolutionary HPP (High Pressure Pascalisation) technology, which ensures fresher, safer and healthier food products. The brand is available across 13 cities in over 1,800 points of sale. The brand has also forayed into the Middle-East with initial presence in the UAE and Qatar.

Fresh from the company’s latest launch of almond milk, Sreejit Nair, director, sales, Rakyan Beverages Pvt. Ltd, fields questions in an email interaction with Harcha Bhaskar on the company's future plans, the clean-label trend,  maintenance of shelf life and more. Excerpts:

What is the processing that is carried out by your company while manufacturing the products?
Raw Pressery is India’s leading cold-pressed juice brand with Asia’s largest Pressery in Panvel, Maharashtra. As a front runner in producing clean-label beverages, Raw Pressery sources fresh fruits and vegetables directly from farmers across India and abroad. The brand cares about its farmers, the soil and hence gives back through ethical sourcing practices. The Pressery functions 24x7 with an organised workforce that manages sourcing, cleaning, production, storage and distribution.

Tell us about your processing and filling machinery. From where are these procured and how much is their capacity?
The Pressery at Panvel is host to India’s largest set of machinery and equipment for cold-press juice production. Some machinery is sourced and customised for the brand locally while some is imported. The Pressery produces 8,000 litre of beverage across a portfolio of juices, smoothies, booster shots, nut milks and soups.

With no preservatives and additives, how is the shelf life of the product maintained?
Raw Pressery has invested in natural preservation through HPP or High-Pressure Processing technology. This ensures the safest juices with a unique shelf life of 21 days. Once a juice is bottled in vacuum (no air + no heat), HPP utilises cold water pressure to the bottle. The pressure measures to five times the pressure felt at the base of the ocean floor. This cold water helps deactivate bacteria while ensuring a juice high on taste, nutrition and freshness.

How different are cold pressed juices than other regular juices in regard to nutritional value, manufacturing cost, retail cost, shelf life?
Ready to consume tetra pack juices are manufactured by pasteurising or heating which degrades nutrition. We saw this as an opportunity to reverse existing trends and create a beverage that offers more nutrition. By replacing the conventional pasteurisation method of mass producing juices with the cold-pressed process, we have successfully created a niche for the cold-pressed juices in the beverage industry.

The utilisation of pressure to extract the juice has helped in ensuring great nutrition, freshness, flavour, and natural taste without adding chemicals, preservatives, sugar or water. The standards of hygiene and safety have further boosted the demand for our product. All 28 variants in our range have disrupted the juice market by introducing consumers with blends of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds that maximise the nutrition and keep away the unnatural.

The application of the cold-pressed technology over thermal manufacturing established a demand for a product that fulfils consumer’s growing need for juices, which are high on taste and also on nutrition. The pressure packing and bottling through HPP ensured a greater shelf life and greater opportunities to scale. We’re available in 13 leading cities in the country, making us India’s largest cold pressed juice company. This can be directly attributed to the application of HPP to our product range.

What are the new products that consumers can expect in the market in the coming year?
The Indian consumer has a lot to look forward to with the number of innovations & flavour combinations that we have to offer. We have recently launched our cold-pressed almond milk which comes in 3 flavours: coffee, cacao and turmeric. Grapefruit is another flavour that we’re particularly excited about, especially after receiving significant queries from the diabetic community. All our launches in the year will be a result of consistent consumer listening and understanding the needs of our consumer base. Our range as well as the new launches will be in sync with our clean label philosophy - which are 100% natural and contain no preservatives, no added sugar or chemicals. By the end of the year, we see our presence spread to both chilled and ambient retail shelves.

Tell us about the cold chain and logistics infrastructure. What is the technology in use here?
Raw Pressery is a pioneer in the beverage category, leading with innovative technology in manufacturing, distribution and consumer experience management. Building India’s largest clean-label beverage company calls for efforts to be closely connected to our consumer set and advancements in technology to ensure fresh, healthy and quality led innovations. Technology lies at the core of driving innovations. From the stage of juice production to the end-delivery to the consumer technology is integral to the process. Raw Pressery is the first brand in the category with Asia’s largest Pressery where technology drives juice extraction through cold-press and natural preservation through High Pressure Processing. Robotics and inventory automation ensure proper warehousing. Supply chain has also seen a great degree of digitisation which helps exercising control over costs, quality, temperature and time. This helps build trust through tracking and traceability. Within retail too, the brand is closely working with tech-developers to create heat sensing devices that help maintain chiller temperature.

Data from technology applications at RAW help map the product journey for the consumer from the farm to the table. This helps in building trust through transparency while also being a great product differentiator.

What are the  changes you wish to see in beverage labelling norms in India?
Since day one, our key mission has been to create awareness and attentiveness to clean label. Clean label is a movement that aims to return to real food and transparency through authenticity. When it comes to beverage labelling, we strive to ensure complete transparency in the ingredients used and the information provided on the packaging. With consumers becoming increasingly conscious about their health and the food they’re consuming, we believe that clean label will be a huge trend this year.
 
Currently, how big is the Indian juice market? How big is Raw Pressery’s share in it?
Within the beverages market, the fruit-based beverage category is one of the fastest growing categories and has grown at a CAGR of over 30% over the past decade. The rising number of health-conscious consumers is giving a boost to the upcoming segment of cold-pressed juices which are free of preservatives, chemicals, sugar, colour or water. Having said that, the cold-pressed juice market is still nascent with more players entering the space. Our focus right now is on expanding distribution vis-à-vis market share.

What are your expansion plans for international markets? What would be your marketing strategy?
We’re already available in the Middle-East with our strategic partnership with the Lulu Group. We’re available in Lulu stores across the UAE and Qatar.

Our focus this year is to strengthen our position as India’s leading clean-label beverage brand. This would comprise building awareness about the category, product, process and delivery. We will be bringing a lot more flavours and sub-categories in our product line such as nut milks, soups, probiotics and water. In terms of distribution, we hope to reach 2,500 stores by the end of FY 18 and increase our foot print in the Middle-East and South-East Asia.

With the latest round of funding raised, we hope to focus intensively on new product development and marketing. Raw Pressery is now expanding to new categories in the beverage segment & beyond and this calls for concentrated 360-degree marketing efforts to build awareness as well as engagement. We’ve always been a digital first brand and will continue to grow our audiences in the space. Hence our marketing efforts over the digital medium will continue through the year. The promotion mix may also include print, outdoor, radio and television mediums to communicate with relevant target groups through seasons. At the retail front, sampling will act as a key tool in understanding the needs of the target audience and increasing brand awareness. By 2020, we look to be Asia’s largest clean-label beverage company with a robust portfolio in all our sub-categories.

In India which are the various retail shops / supermarkets where the products are available? Tell us about your distribution channel.
Raw Pressery has grown from strength to strength, expanding business to achieve its goal to be India’s largest clean-label food & beverage company. We’re currently available in 13 cities, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Kochi, Ahmedabad, and Goa. Reaching the consumer at over 1,800 points of sale covering modern trade, general trade, institutions (airports, hospitals, schools, etc.) HORECA and direct-to-home channels. The company has invested in its own logistics network based out of its cold-pressed juice facility in Panvel, Maharashtra. The company has reversed industry norms on distribution such as building its own supply chain network, direct store deliveries, direct-to home deliveries as well as air-freighted exports.

How big is the expected turnover of the company this fiscal? Which mode of sales generate major revenue, online or retail?
We have been seeing consistent growth year-on-year. The company has grown 120% in 2017 and we expect to continue in the same trajectory. Retail generates the maximum sale for the product.
 
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