Feb 22, 2007

Waiting for Orange Juice (Not From Concentrate) On Indian Retail Shelves

Ever since my R2I (Return to India for good, if you haven't heard this term before) last year, one thing I have missed is the sweet-tangy taste of Orange Juice. It was a staple drink in those years spent in the United States. The ad of Florida's Natural OJ which showed consumers literally pulling the juice cans straight from the groves was a big hit. In the Indian context though such a pull is not easy, with the severe lack of cold storage chains connecting the farms to the marts. You will find many variants of the 'from-concentrate' OJ which do not need any refrigeration, but those I avoid. Instead I have resorted to eating orange fruits whenever I find them, but then they are seasonal.

A good development of late in India has been the opening up of retail in a big way. Reliance, Bharti-Walmart, RPG, Birlas, Tatas, you name it every big corporate house is venturing bigtime. ET reports Retail will jump from $12B today to $200B by year 2016! In most developed nations, organised retail is the economy's backbone emlpoying more people than any other industry. This is about to pickup in India with these companies making $30B worth of investments in linking the farm to the mart, triggering a new socio-economic revolution.

And now the government has just announced incentives to companies in setting up cold chains with reduced import duties, interest-sops etc. That should reduce my wait for OJ (not from concentrate) considerably!

3 comments:

Hari said...

I think retail would be a big boon to the India farmer too. Some good outcomes (I feel) would be:
1. With contract farming, the farmer might finally be able to sell his produce directly to the retailer and make good value rather than selling to the wholesale traders for peanuts as is done presently.
2. The retailer could give a minimum assured income that would turn the farmer away from suicides (should the crop fail that is).
3. The consumer is assured of fresh and quality stock assuming that the storage & supply chain is of good quality.
4. Obviously, this would create a whole new set of jobs.
5. As a side effect, this might also lead to more professionalism and improvements in farming technologies since corporates would be (in)directly involved.
-Regards, Hari

Ram said...

Very well summarised Hari. This is the socio-economic revolution that I briefly referred to in this post. Rural India will not be the same ten years from now!

Anonymous said...

How about a bio-tech solution? As in, Indian bio tech companies formulate a way (perhaps through some organic preservative of some sort)to increase life of squeezed juice.
Like the tiger is the mascot of wildlife conservation in India -Ram, you have annointed orange juice as the barometer of entire agri-economy's health.

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