India’s largest bottled water company, Bisleri International Pvt. Ltd, plans to introduce vending machines for its packaged drinking water, a first initiative of its kind by any branded water company in India.
Bisleri has tied up with vending machine company Grabbit to set up automated machines in offices, shopping malls, airports and other high traffic points.
Beverage companies Coca Cola India Inc. and PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt. Ltd do sell branded bottled water through their brands, Kinley and Aquafina.
While they sell their colas through vending machines, both companies sell water through regular retail.
Bisleri is testing the concept in Mumbai and will take it nationally in the next three to four months.
“The idea is to make packaged water available to people at places where it is either not available or available at price higher than the maximum retail price (MRP),” said Ramesh Chauhan, chairman, Bisleri.
The price of a 1 litre Bisleri bottle is Rs12, while 500ml and 250ml bottles are sold for Rs8 and Rs5, respectively. Bottles sold through vending machines will cost the same price as sold at retail.
“The price of bottled water at places such as airports and cinema halls is usually higher than the marked MRP. A higher price point discourages sales. There are also places where bottled water is not available. Bisleri’s move to introduce vending machine will address both problems,” said Puneet Bansal, senior business analyst, Datamonitor Plc., a market research company that tracks consumption trends across various sectors.
Bisleri aims to triple its sales from around Rs300 crore in 2007 to Rs1,000 crore by 2009.
The company is investing Rs200 crore in strengthening its distribution network apart from setting up 12 new bottling facilities with an investment of Rs150 crore.
“We aim to tap the unorganized bottled water market in India, which accounts for around 75% of the total water market,” said Ruchika Desai, brand manager, Bisleri.
According to Datamonitor, the bottled water market was estimated to be around Rs7,464 crore in 2006 and is expected to grow to Rs12,364 crore by 2010.