Tatas’ Himalayan makes saffron foray

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TOI

Buoyed by robust growth in premium wellness products, Tata Consumer Products-owned NourishCo Beverages is betting on a product more expensive than silver – Kashmiri saffron.

The Rs 620-crore company with flagship brands – Himalayan, Tata Gluco+, Tata Copper+ Water – will also expand offerings under both its value as well as provenance portfolio for growth, MD Vikram Grover told TOI in an interview.
Silver costs Rs 73 per gram, while the company’s saffron is priced at Rs 650 per gram. “Under a two-pronged strategy, the company will focus on innovation and increase distribution to continue to build a national footprint. There is (enough) headroom for growth,” Grover added.

NourishCo was founded as a JV between Tata Consumer and PepsiCo in 2010 to enter the non-carbonated drink market. After a decade, Tata Consumer bought out PepsiCo’s stake in the venture for Rs 13 crore. Since then, the company has expanded its distribution coverage and leveraged assets under the parent company to launch products in non-carbonated and ready-to-drink beverage segments.

Grover said the saffron launch is under the Himalayan umbrella – in line with the strategy of strengthening provenance positioning, with products which are gold standard, source-based (from the Himalyan belt) and minimally processed. Initially, it will test waters by making it available in select cities.

Kashmiri saffron is considered premium and priced between Rs 550-800 per gm, while Iranian saffron sells at a lower price, industry experts say. The Kashmiri saffron market is estimated to be worth Rs 500 crore, and is highly fragmented with no large player. Others in the space include Baby Saffron, Lion and Everest – which cater to the lower-priced segment.

Recently, prices of Kashmiri saffron have jumped after receiving the geographical indication (GI) tag, which verifies the spice’s origin.

Over the last one year, the Ukraine conflict and inflation imposed financial pressure on the company, and impacted its supply chain. “After a cross-functional exercise focused on trimming costs, margins have improved,” he said.

“Our Q1 NourishCo clocked Rs 293 crore with a top line growth of 60%. Tata Gluco+ recorded 61% growth, and Tata Copper+ grew by 71%. The profitability profile of the business improved significantly during the quarter, and we will continue to drive efficiencies going forward,” he added

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