Marketing review news
09 November 2006

HFB launches ready to drink filter coffee
Bangalore: Mysore-based Hindustan Food & Beverages (HFB) has developed a technology to produce liquid coffee concentrate and will offer it commercially on a large scale.

The company will offer liquid coffee concentrate made in a coffee percolator all consumers need to do is add hot milk to about 20 ml of liquid coffee concentrate to produce a cup of steaming hot coffee. While retaining the taste of freshly brewed filter coffee, the liquid concentrate offers a great degree of convenience, says the company.

The coffee is being promoted by three coffee planters from Chikmagalur and Kodagu, along with two food technologists in Mysore, and the company has major plans to take its product to the retail market, especially in the non-traditional coffee drinking areas. The company plans to tie up with a food and beverage major to take its product to the retail market. The company has already come up with two brands `Filter Café' and `Cappachillo,' the cold-coffee version.

Currently, HFB supplies its coffee concentrate to Café Coffee Day and some hotels and restaurants in Mysore. The coffee concentrate is also sold in select retail outlets in Mysore and Bangalore.

The shelf-life of liquid coffee concentrate is six months and a container once opened can be stored in a refrigerator for seven days.

Dell launches PowerEdge servers
Dell has launched two PowerEdge servers featuring AMD's Opteron range of server processors.

The PowerEdge 6950 is a four-socket server designed for demanding enterprise applications such as database, server consolidation, virtualisation and migration from costly RISC-based systems.

The PowerEdge SC1435 is a two-socket, rack-dense server optimised for high-performance compute clusters, distributed Web serving and small- to medium-sized businesses.

Canon signs up Tendulkar as brand ambassador
Canon India has signed up ace cricketer Sachin Tendulkar as its corporate brand ambassador to mark its tenth anniversary year in the country.

The company has signed a three-year contract with the cricketer and expects to `Indianise' its brand through the association.

Canon has three product lines — cameras, printers and office automation systems and wants to increase its business with Tendullar endorsing the brand.

The company said, "The Canon brand stands for a perfect mix of performance, care and reliability and this is exactly what Sachin means to the world. Sachin embodies Canon's image as an innovative and trustworthy brand with a wide appeal.''

Carrier to tie-up with retail biggies
Air-conditioning major Carrier India is talking to big retail companies like Reliance and Bharti to tie up for their retail projects.

The company says it sees substantial growth for products like commercial ACs and refrigeration and transportation. At present Carrier's commercial air conditioning segment accounts for 35-40 per cent of its equipment sales and it sees the contribution of this segment rising faster than the residential segment in the coming years.

Commercial ACs currently account for about 10-15 per cent of the total market.

In the residential AC segment, Carrier plans to follow a multi-brand strategy with the Toshiba brand targeted at the high-end of the market and Carrier for the lower and mid-range.

The company is currently importing the Toshiba products from its plants in Thailand and Japan, while the Carrier range is manufactured at its facility in Gurgaon.

VF Arvind opens third Kipling store
VF Arvind Brands has opened its third Kipling exclusive store at Galleria Leela, Leela Palace, Bangalore.

Kipling is a Belgium-based women's casual handbag brand and is part of the VF group. The other two Kipling stores are in Delhi and Mumbai.

VF Arvind Brands plans to have six exclusive stores and 12 shop-in-shops by the middle of next year. Kipling bags are positioned as affordable and accessible luxury and are priced in the Rs 2,000-7,000 range.

HLL shelves tea parlour chain plans
FMCG major Hindustan Lever's ambitious plans to promote tea through a chain of branded tea parlours, like Barista or Café Coffee Day seem to have come to naught.

HLL has shut down T Place, the first of the tea parlours the company opened in Bangalore, and has now abandoned the idea of getting into the branded tea chain business.

HLL had launched the first T Place outlet at Koramangala in a large restaurant format, which presented the beverage in exciting new ways in contemporary settings. The company had also planned to leverage the health and wellness plank associated with tea drinking to promote the beverage, its major revenue earner.

However its franchisee soon closed down the parlour citing it as an unviable proposition.

Company officials said HLL was using the tea parlour in Bangalore an experiment in testing new product formats and also in testing a new channel to reach consumers and that it helped the company to innovate and develop new product solutions from the insights developed from the tea parlour experiment.

The company says it has now launched a malt (premix) tea under the Lipton brand as a result of the tea parlour experiment.

With consumption of tea and coffee in India rapidly growing in the out-of-home channels, the company is stepping up its presence and tapping the opportunity that ranges from high street teashops to corporate offices, malls and multiplexes at the premium end.

For the present HLL's efforts to retail tea from its own branded outlets are on hold.

Reliance gets Fresh with retail splash
Reliance Industries has launched its much awaited Reliance Fresh outlets retailing fresh fruits, vegetables and groceries in Hyderabad with much fanfare and international media attention.

Beginning with vegetables and fruits, these `Fresh' outlets, herald the Rs25,000-crore agri and retail business venture of the company, which will have its presence across 784 cities and 6,000 towns in the country.

The roll-out of `Reliance Fresh', termed as the neighbourhood store here, would be followed by bigger versions in Mumbai, New Delhi and Ahmedabad. RIL has been firming up plans for other formats — a chain of hypermarkets, supermarkets and department stores.

RIL targets to have one retail outlet for every 3,000 families across the country, which works out to one store within a radius of every 2km.

Currently, the 'Fresh' store stocks `high-frequency shopped items' such as fresh vegetables and fruits, bread, egg, dairy products and `select' grocery items. Soon a non-vegetarian section will be added. Free home delivery, sale of flowers and cookies will follow.

Indian Airlines set for new look
Indian Airlines will soon get a new look and image mostly due to the fact that the state owned airline is witnessing more competition in domestic skies and does not want to appear dowdy in front of new airlines which have well turned out cabin staff and highly customer friendly procedures.

Hence Indian Airlines' cabin crew will soon don new uniforms consisting of trendy skirts or trousers. As part of the customer friendly approach the airline would welcome aboard frequent flyers personally by name and introduce tele-check in even for baggage.

The airline is also revamping the interiors of the new aircraft joining its fleet.

To improve customer relations, the airline is setting up a passenger services software that will enable it to identify not just frequent flyers but even passengers who have flown the carrier just once. This will help Indian Airlines offer better services to its customers.

The software solution will also allow passengers to check in and print boarding passes from home or office besides allowing them to check in baggage by printing a baggage tag.

The airline will handle your luggage once you are at the airport, including security clearances. It will also permit web check-ins as well as self-service check-ins at specific Indian Airlines kiosks.

The software solution will also help make online booking more user-friendly. It will include flexible, multiple-sector booking, re-routing, revalidation and best fares. The system will also facilitate ticket booking through mobile phones and automated teller machines.

Sports channels offer value added services
With sports television getting crowded, channels are looking at newer strategies to get viewers and increase revenues. ESPN-Star Sports has launched its specialised feature service "Mobile ESPN", to enter the value added services (VAS) segment in India.

Apart from cricket information, the application will have latest updates from international soccer matches, sportscenter news, exclusive interviews and sports schedule of all sports events.

Mobile ESPN as it will be called will cover games in all possible formats- voice, video, text and SMS. The service will be streamed in multiple languages for sports lovers across the country available on major telecom networks (Hutch, Airtel, Idea, BSNL and so on) from mid-November.

According to the channel, "With Mobile ESPN consumers can access info about any match irrespective of the channel it will be broadcast on. Apart from updates; pre and post match comments and scores, users will also be able to download video clips on their handsets in the near future."

Food Bazaar to freeze vegetable prices year round
Imagine buying onions, potatoes and tomatoes at the same price at any time of the year. If Future Group's chairman Kishore Biyani plans fructify this may be possible. The company is moving towards a 'consistent pricing' model for food in all its Food Bazaar stores.

Currently, vegetables and food are prone to seasonal fluctuations in the open market as well as at the supermarkets and grocery store chains.

Biyani's move is to gain consumer confidence and loyalty because seasonal variation in prices is a key driver of consumer dissatisfaction in grocery shopping. The group will roll out the pricing model with five categories, onions, potatoes, fresh vegetables, rice and sugar.

The prototype for the uniform price model was tested in the Andheri branch of Food Bazaar for the past few months and the company found that sales increased by 50 per cent in this store and the group is set to roll out the prototype in the rest of the country.

The volatality in prices will be arrested primarily through warehousing at strategic locations. The company has already begun doing this at Navi Mumbai, for its Mumbai city needs. To ensure that margins aren't hit by charging a single price for foods through the year, Food Bazaar says it will improve its sourcing.

Trademark disputes on the rise in liquor industry
Mason & Summers is pulling out one of its front-line spirits brands in the wake of a trademark dispute decision with global drinks giant Diageo.

The settlement mandated by the courts was amicable. The dispute arose following the Mason & Summers Royal Crown identical brand name to Diageo's Crown Royal, the number one Canadian whisky and among the top selling spirits brands in the US.

When contacted, Mason & Summers confirmed that it was withdrawing the brand after the dispute resolution. However, the company said it would relaunch Royal Crown whisky under a different name by early next year.

In another instance Seagram and Jagatjit Industries are locked in a legal battle over the trademark Blender's Pride, which is one of the key brands of the former in the Indian market. The LP Jaiswal family-controlled Jagatjit, the makers of Aristocrat Whisky, has staked claim to the trademark registration in the country.

Further, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has also moved against Indian whiskies using Scottish brand names or inheritance and has opposed the registration of UB Group's McDowell's whisky trademark in the overseas markets.

Trademark disputes have been on the rise with the liquor MNCs taking the Indian market seriously over the last one decade.

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