New Delhi: Jamba Juice Co., the US-based health juice brand, plans to enter the Indian market through the franchise route. The Emeryville, California-based company is looking for a suitable local partner, the company said in an email.
“We have identified India as a priority market. Selecting the right partner is critical to our success internationally and this is particularly true for India,” said Thibault de Chatellus, senior vice-president, international.
Jamba Juice, set up in 1990, positions itself as a fresh and healthy brand at affordable prices. It sees potential in India’s Rs.8,000 crore quick-service restaurant market owing to consumers’ inclination towards fruits, juices and the increasing shift to healthy eating options as well as the country’s “attractive demographics, including the increasing middle class demand for affordable ‘treats’ such as premium coffees, smoothies”, de Chatellus said.
With an annual revenue of $226.4 million (around Rs.1,220 crore today) in 2011, Jamba Juice is one of the largest juice brands in the US with a menu ranging from breakfast wraps to frozen yoghurt.
Analysts say the juice market in India is in its infancy, although it has the potential to grow.
“Partially, juice is where coffee stood as a category seven years ago. There is a need to establish and build the fresh juice segment. Any new food or beverage category will have to pass through the initial resistance stages to reap dividends,” said Gaurav Marya, president, Franchise India Holdings Ltd.
Marya added that while there is demand for fresh juice, the industry has not established the right environment for it to grow.
Another food and beverage expert echoed the point about potential.
“I don’t remember having sugarcane juice in India over the past 10 years because there is no place that offers it to me. The Indian consumer is now turning away from the corner juice stalls over issues of hygiene. While there is definitely a demand for fresh fruit juice brands, the market in India is at a nascent stage,” said Amit Lohani, chief executive at Max Foods, a Delhi-based distributor of imported food brands.
Rahul Deans, president of homegrown frozen yoghurt chain Cocoberry Retail Pvt. Ltd, doesn’t agree that consumers are turning away from the local juice stalls.
“I don’t know how much homework they have done before planning their India entry. In the case of juice, in India you are competing with the juicewallahs directly. So, the brand needs to be compelling enough for the consumer to ditch the juicewallah and spend money on their product,” he said. Cocoberry now has 40 stores in the country.
Jamba was a premium product and may appeal to “mall-hopping Indians”, Lohani said.
Jamba Juice has more than 750 stores in 19 countries including Canada, Philippines and South Korea. Chatellus said it’s committed to making investments in the countries it operates in.
Besides India, the juice maker has plans to expand its global footprint to selected markets in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
According to an 8 January Bloomberg news report, US brands Krispy Kreme and Jamba Juice have been identified as potential acquisition targets “for their well-known brand names and the chance to expand into grocery and mass retail stores”.