GSK planning to launch its rural drink

Chennai, Oct 6 (IANS) GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare will decide on its rural drink, Asha, after reviewing the results of the test marketing activities in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

‘Asha is targeted at the rural market. It is being test marketed in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. We will review the test market results and take a call on the product,’ General Manager (Marketing) Prashant Pandey told reporters here Wednesday.

Declining to share details about the drink’s base–whether it is malt-based like the company’s flagship brand Horlicks, Pandey said the product is priced at Rs.85 for 500 grams as against the base Horlicks variety priced at Rs.142.

GlaxoSmithKline is logging sizeable sales from the rural areas for its Horlicks drink.

It will have to be seen whether the company would launch a cheaper sub-brand, which might cannibalise the parent brand to some extent.

According to Pandey, the company’s focus is to consolidate the gains of repositioning its base malt drink Horlicks as well as other brand extensions like the variants of Horlicks drink- Lite, Junior, Women-, biscuits, noodles and nutrition bar.

He said the Horlicks branded products- base and extensions- generate sales over Rs.1,500 crore for the company.

He said under the Horlicks brand the health drink contribute 90 percent of the total brand revenue and the balance is contributed by biscuits, noodles and nutrition bar.

‘Within the Horlicks drink variants the basic product accounts for 85 percent of the revenue and the balance is contributed by varieties like Horlicks Lite/Junior/Women,’ Pandey said.

The company, which forayed into the foods business in 2009 with Horlicks Nutribar, is targeting five percent market share in the Rs.1,300-crore noodles market with its Foodles brand.

The instant noodles segment is dominated by Nestle’s Maggie with nearly 90 percent share and there are other well known brands like Top Ramen.

Asked about the company’s strategy in gaining market share in the Rs.10,000-crore Indian biscuit market, Pandey said: ‘We have now entered the cream biscuit segment which is estimated to be around Rs.2,000 crore. Our pitch will be on health plank which Horlicks is generally known for.’

The company crosses swords with biscuits majors like Britannia, Parle, ITC as well as brand extensions of health drink like Complan with its corn flakes and cream biscuits.


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