ITC to launch B Natural fruit juices in eastern, western markets soon

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on February 20, 2015

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Diversified conglomerate ITC Ltd, which recently forayed into the fruit juices with “B Natural”, is planning to introduce its offerings in the eastern and western markets soon.

So far ‘B Natural’ – a Bengaluru-based brand that ITC acquired last year – has been introduced in the five southern States that include Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala.

The launch in the eastern region – West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and the North-East – is expected by February. While in western markets the offerings will be introduced later this year.

According to Chitranjan Dar, Chief Executive of ITC’s Foods Division, the entry into the fruit juices segment was facilitated with the company leveraging its back-end in the agri-business category; particularly, specialisation in export of fruit pulp.

“To be launched in the East by February, the juices contain no artificial colours or preservatives and are 100 per cent natural. We will have packs of 200 ml and one litre,” he told BusinessLine adding that the FMCG major was targeting the offerings as a “light snacking item”.

Juices and food items come under the “other” FMCG category for ITC, which account for over 21 per cent (or ₹6,445 crore) of the turnover of ₹30,603 crore; that it reported in the first nine months of the fiscal.

According to Dar, post-acquisition, ITC re-worked on the juice brand’s various aspects such as manufacturing facilities, taste and also packaging.

To be distributed through both modern retail and kirana stores, B Natural has been priced to take on market leaders in the segment.

At present, the juices market is pegged at ₹2,000 crore with Dabur’s “Real” being the market leader and Pepsico’s “Tropicana” coming a distant second. Focus has also been on having special Indian flavours – like litchi and jamun.

However, some of the variants – like jamun – will be placed at a premium.

With volumes picking up, ITC might explore the possibility of having new manufacturing units; apart from B Natural’s existing one in Bengaluru. It has a capacity of one lakh litres a day.

Published on February 20, 2015

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