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Emami set to charge up glucose drink market

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Get ready for a charged up battle in the Indian glucose drink market. Kolkata-based is gearing up for a head-on clash with established players like and . After soft launching its glucose brand called early this year, the major is looking for a phase-wise launch across the country, competing with brands like of Heinz and by Dabur.

According to analysts, the Rs 550-600 crore category is growing at 16 per cent per annum. The category, however, is dominated by Glucon D, which holds 55 per cent share, followed by Glucose D (25 per cent). The other players are GSKCH-Boost Glucose and Glaxose D.

Emami has launched its brand in West Bengal, which has a high per capita consumption, and is on the lookout for new horizons. “The initial consumer and trade response from West Bengal has been quite encouraging. Apart from this, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are also big in the consumption of glucose,” says , chief executive officer, Emami Biotech.

But it may not be an easy ride for Emami, as other new entrants like and are also in the race. “Competition is very fierce in the segment. The emphasis still remains on distribution-and-push strategy rather than demand-generated pull strategy. The reason: consumers still prefer ready-to-drink over to-be-made. Also, Glucon-D is already generic in the industry and traditionally it has always been difficult to break the generic product,” says Krunal Mehta, vice-president, brand management, Angel Broking.

However, Emami through its products like , , , Fair and Handsome and Fast Relief had proved in the past that it is possible to take on generic products. Analysts say that the ready-to-drink concept could be one way of taking on the giants in a big way.

The Emami brand variants “Classic, Orange and Pineapple” are also aggressively priced to beat competition. While Classic 100 gram is priced at Rs 21, the other two variants cost Rs 26.

The brand is targeting the value-added energy positioning even through its tag line, “Energy se bharpur, Bimariyon se rakkhey dur”, highlighting the vitamin C content in its brand.

While accepting that it would be a tough battle ahead, Chakraborty says the focus for a new brand in an old category is to ensure a high degree of trials, for the consumers to feel the difference . As long as this is done well, market-share is a derivative.”

Emami expects the category to grow 117 per cent to Rs 1,300 crore from the current Rs 600 crore in the next five years, where all the brands have space to grow. “With the deep pockets that Emami has, I am sure it will attack the distribution channel of Heinz and Dabur and try to establish a strong brand connection with Gluco charge. Emami’s initial test marketing and product positioning gives the perception of a very healthy competition,” Mehta adds.

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