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At Rs 8,000 crore, mango-based products a spectacular success across all categories
www.huntnews.in, Delhi, 17 September, 2016


NEW DELHI | MUMBAI: Mango the king of fruit — that's old news. Mango the king of processed food and beverages across categories from tea to cocktails to candies — that's the sweet new truth about India's sweet tooth.

And the sweetest thing is the market size. At Rs 8,000 crore and rapidly growing, the branded mango products market rivals that for chocolates of all kinds put together.

Starbucks made a pleasant discovery on the extent to which Indians can be mango people. The US-headquartered beverages chain put alphonso puree in tea and also created an Alphonso Mango Frappuccino. Tea with mango — yuck? No, it's yum. Starbucks' mango offering was a huge hit with Indian consumers and the global beverages chain is now exporting the Made-in-India frappuccino to other Asian markets.

"Created and designed here, that beverage actually became our bestseller last year. It has 100% alphonso puree and it prompted other markets in Asia Pacific to source the same ingredients from us and take it to Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong this year," said Manmeet Vohra, marketing head at Tata Starbucks .

Mango frappuccino is one of several new examples that have transformed the mango-based product basket dominated by ice candies and soft drinks flavoured with the fruit.

"Mango is to India what strawberry is for most parts of the western world," said Nadia Chauhan, joint managing director at Parle Agro . "Mangoes are available only for three months...anything with a short supply attracts big demand," said Harish Bijoor, a brand expert. Whatever the explanation, the mango stories are remarkable.

Consider this: Manpasand Beverages is not exactly an FMCG (fastmoving consumer goods) giant with a storied brand portfolio.

But this Gujarat-based company had a rollicking initial public offering — oversubscribed 1.4 times — based on the success of a single, mangobased drink, named, with striking literalness, Mango Sip.

Manpasand now has nearly Rs 2,600 crore in market capitalisation, despite annual revenues of just Rs 350 crore.

That a small player can win investors' vote of confidence on the back of one mango-flavoured drink, and that too when this drink has big brand competitors such as Maaza, Slice and Frooti, says a lot about India's faith in anything aam.

And the old mango drink fights are getting tougher, where Parle Agro's Frooti vies with Pepsi's Slice and Coca-Cola's Maaza. Not unsurprisingly, Aam Ras is the best-selling product in Paper Boat's portfolio.

Here's another mango success that came from nowhere. DS Group's raw mango-flavoured candy Pulse is close to topping Rs 150 crore worth of sales in the first nine months. With a Re 1 price tag, that's nearly 3 billion candies.

"Pulse's offtake has surpassed our expectations. The flavour we created through in-house R&D (research and development) is what set it apart," said Shashank Surana, vice-president, new product development, at DS Foods, the company that makes Rajnigandha pan masala and Pass Pass mouth freshener.

Mango variants account for half the overall candy segment now, compared with caramel's contribution at 20%, say industry officials. For Parle, Mango Bite candy has topped Rs 300 crore in yearly sales. "While chocolates have a 'kids-only' affinity, mango's likeability is age-neutral," said Parle's marketing head Mayank Shah.

Naturally, new global players are also going aam. Danone has mango yogurt, Kellogg's sells mango corn flakes.

There's mango in booze — United Sports Bar and Grill sells a cocktail called Mango Surprise (rum and mango puree). There's mango in ayurvedic jams — DaburBSE -1.51 % sells mango-flavoured chyawanprash. And there's mango in doughnuts — Mad Over Donuts' mango-flavoured line has acquired a loyal client base, the company says. So, what's the next delightful surprise for India's mango people?