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Parag Milk Foods expands footprint with new launches, ‘Slurp’ and ‘Avvatar’

The dairy food company is venturing into the mango-milk drink category in India. It will also enter into a completely different segment of sports nutrition with the launch of whey protein brand Avvatar. spoke to Mahesh Israni, CMO, Parag Milk Foods to know more

Parag Milk Foods, with a marketing spend of around Rs 200-250 lakh, has entered the fruit juice drink segment by launching ‘Slurp’ and aims to expand its footprint in the beverage category. Slurp is made from Alphonso mangoes with a dash of milk and has been timed to give a refreshing feel to its consumers in this summer. The launch will be supported by a marketing campaign ‘Yeh aam, aam nahi’, conceptualised by JWT. Slurp will be available across the markets of Mumbai, Delhi, Kanpur and Chennai in 200 ml tetra pack at Rs 20, with a shelf life of four weeks.

In another three weeks, Parag will also foray into the sports nutrition space with the launch of Avvatar, a whey protein power brand.

As of now, Slurp intends to strengthen its distribution network. The moment it feels it has a strong foothold, a full-fledged 360-degree campaign will be launched. The brand is spending heavy on BTL activities and a lot of outdoor advertising has already begun.

Commenting on the launch of Slurp, Devendra Shah, Chairman, Parag Milk Foods, said, “We are excited to introduce our new brand ‘Slurp’ in the fruit juice drink segment. The new offering is based on the company’s mission of providing health and nutrition to the Indian consumers. Our research indicates that consumers are looking for alternatives to aerated drinks and are moving towards fruit-based drinks. Fruit juices are a fast growing category and mango flavour contributes the largest share. The launch of this new brand is a strategic push for expanding our portfolio of value-added products. Within our value added products portfolio, we have identified beverage category as a key growth driver.”

Talking about the overall marketing spend of the company, Mahesh Israni, CMO, Parag Milk Foods, said, “We roughly spend about two-and-a-half per cent to three per cent of our total revenue for marketing campaigns. Out of which, we spend about 5-6 per cent in below the line activities to ensure that a lot of consumer trials have been carried out. For example, bringing alive the product at the time of purchase or for sampling or major BTL initiatives, like in-shop, carrying out trade promotions, all this is locked up from the revenue. So the total spend done on building the brand both at consumer and marketer or brand level will be anywhere between eight and nine per cent.”

Slurp has first mover advantage

Is there any competition even after being the first player of this category?

Israni sees huge scope in the category and finds it too soon to set a goal for the brand. He said, “As we are entering a new category, we do have a strong objective and in the next four to five years, we desire to be strong players. To achieve that we will have to look at stronger revenue after four to five years.”

Talking about competition, Israni said, “Fruit juice is a seven-and-a-half thousand crore rupees category in the market. It is a large market and we definitely like to outscore the competition. But outscoring will not happen only on the product. It is a great product as it has got milk, pure Alphonso but at the end of the day if we don’t compete in the market and ensure right availability, right visibility and noise, the consumer is never going to know about the nature of our product.”

The total juice category in India is a Rs10,129-crore industry, out of which Nectars have a share worth Rs 2,000 crore. 100 per cent juices have a share of Rs 980 crore and the juice drinks market has a share of Rs 7,150 crore.

As per Euromonitor, the 100 per cent juice drink market is growing at a CAGR of 25 per cent in volume and 31 per cent in value in the last five years. Of this, the report says the mango juice drink market comprises 85 per cent.

Why launch a separate brand altogether?

It took around two years to actually launch Slurp in the market. The brand could have been launched under its milk-based brand Go. Israni said, “From a consumer or a retailer's point of view, fruit juice or fruit-based beverages is a different category. We didn't want it to mix up with a Go brand, which is typically associated with milk-based products like cheese, buttermilk, lassi, etc. The fruit juice category is not a core milk product. We wanted the consumers to think of a brand as a fruit juice and not a milk beverage.”

Consumer insight

Being first to launch the category in the branded milk-based mango juice category, the consumer research and insight has been appreciable. Israni said, “Before launching a product, typically one does a consumer dipstick. But we carried out a larger consumer research and not a consumer dipstick as we were entering into a category. For our product, the score was as high as 4.74 out of 5, hence any score exceeding 4.5 is considered to be excellent for a product to be launched. The difference between the score earned by our product and the market leaders was as high as 0.5-0.6 score. On a scale of 4.7, the others would come at 4.1 or 4.2. This factor further gave us high confidence to go ahead.”

Challenges: Creating position in consumers’ mind

Israni talked about the challenges the brand might face. “The biggest challenge is ensuring that you are able to create a position in the consumer's mind about the new brand. When you have a small budget to build a brand, it is important to use that money innovatively to ensure that you get the right reactions. And this definitely doesn't happen overnight. You have to use the right property, right kind of associations, and the right kind of medium.”

Vibrant packaging

The Slurp packaging design was developed overall to showcase energy and freshness. The yellow and orange colour captures the category colour through distinct cues of the Alphonso mango. The display of the font is used to connote a fun/on-the-go feel and the background depicts freshness of the product through graphic splashes. The mango showcased with the logo is to convey a natural and authentic deliverance of the product brand.

Parag forays into sports nutrition with Avvatar

With Avvatar’s launch, Parag Milk Foods will venture into completely a new category of sport nutrition. Avvatar is a 100 per cent whey protein powder. The brand will be launched in three weeks’ time. The category in India stands at Rs 1,000-1,500 crore and is growing at 20 per cent, Israni told

About the upcoming launch, Israni said, “Most of the products which you will find in this category are either imported or imported and sold under a certain brand. Our biggest USP in this category is that it is 100 per cent sugar, gluten and soya free and vegetarian. The price of the product will be similar to that of other market leaders.”

Being a niche category, the brand will be promoted through three routes-- through gym instructors, through nutritionists and on the digital front. Israni said, “We are going to spend about 15-20 per cent of the revenue on marketing. Firstly, our main objective is to shape the brand. Initially we intend to spend between Rs 7-10 crore on the brand. JWT is going to work on the packaging and Madison will take care of the media buying.

Other brands from the house of Parag

Parag Milk Foods Limited was established in 1992. It has its own manufacturing facility with state-of-the-art technologies. Its manufacturing facilities are strategically located at Manchar, Maharashtra and Palamaner, Andhra Pradesh.

Parag Milk Foods’ own dairy farm, Bhagyalaxmi Dairy Farm Private Limited, has over 2,000 Holstein breed cows, which has mechanised milking process. Under the brand ‘Gowardhan’, the company offers traditional products like ghee, dahi, paneer, etc. Under the brand 'Go' it offers products like cheese, UHT milk, yoghurt, etc. 'Pride of Cows', the flagship brand of Parag Milk Foods, was introduced with a proposition of Farm to Home concept targeted towards customers seeking premium quality cow milk. The company forayed into dairy-based beverages with the launch of ‘Topp Up’, a brand targeted towards consumers on the move seeking quick nourishment and fulfilment.

Brands like Topp Up, Milkrich, Pride of Cows do not need much marketing. Pride of Cows is found in Mumbai and Pune and has recently expanded to Surat. “Pride of Cows does not require strong support as it works on the word to mouth and by invitation. So, the only root we take on this brand is more of fairs and festivals, social media and referral programme,” said Israni. The company spends mostly on its four important brands -- Gowardhan, Go, latest launch Slurp and now also want to focus on its upcoming brand Avvatar.

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