Bisleri is set to go places, literally. The leader in the Rs 8,000-crore domestic bottled water market has drawn up a new blueprint under which the focus will be to expand its reach further. Leading the charge will be Jayanti, 38, daughter of chairman Ramesh Chauhan.
The senior Chauhan told FE, “Availability and price are two factors that I would tell my daughter to focus her attention on. While we are competitive in terms of price, I think reach is important. There are many places where Bisleri is still not available. The task would be to make Bisleri available everywhere.”
Chauhan said the focus would be to help consumers shift from unbranded to branded products. “While there are many who drink Bisleri, there are many more who settle for anything.”
Jayanti, 38, who would steer Bisleri 2.0 as vice-chairman with the company’s professional management team helping her, is already on the job. Angelo George, chief executive officer, Bisleri International, said, “To meet the growing demand and expand our reach to more areas, we are enhancing the manufacturing capacity of our existing plants, co-packer and franchisee networks.”
As things stand now, Bisleri, known for its distinctive green caps and labels as opposed to the standard blue colour of rivals such as Coca-Cola’s Kinley and PepsiCo’s Aquafina, has 150 manufacturing plants across the country, over 6,000 distributors and 7,500 trucks.
Of the 150 manufacturing plants, say industry sources, almost 13-15 units are owned by the company, while the rest are largely co-packing tie-ups to ensure production is close to consumption centres.
Parallelly, the company is stitching up partnerships with international players, the first being a bottling and distribution tie-up with the Dubai-based Nasser Abdulla Lootah Group for a foray into the UAE market. At the same time, the company is also revamping its product portfolio, including the launch of three new flavours within carbonated soft drinks.
The rate of growth of the organised packaged water market in India is pegged at around 20% per annum, ahead of the overall packaged water market in the country, according to experts.
According to experts, the overall bottled water market in India, which is estimated at Rs 20,000 crore, is dominated by unorganised players. Almost 60% of the market is unorganised, while 40% is organised, say analysts at brokerage Motilal Oswal.
To ensure that the organised market itself expands, players like Bisleri will have to aggressively push distribution into smaller towns and villages, where local brands dominate. At the same time, players also need to keep advertising to ensure brand recall and saliency remains high.
“Since price is difficult to touch in packaged water, market growth can happen through distribution and advertising,” Motilal Oswal said in a recent report.
The price of bottled water from established players, including Bisleri, Aquafina and Kinley, has remained stagnant for years now. A 250-ml Bisleri bottle, which is the entry-level pack, is available for Rs 6 at retail outlets, while the popular Bisleri 500-ml pack is available for Rs 10 and the one-litre and two-litre packs are priced at Rs 20 and Rs 30, respectively.
Despite market leadership and high brand recall, Bisleri was in the news recently for a proposed sale of the business to Tata Consumer Products