Thirsting to Improve

Schauna Chauhan Saluja is revamping Parle Agro, improving technology and extending its reach.
 Nevin John   New Delhi     Print Edition: October 8, 2017
Thirsting to Improve
SCHAUNA CHAUHAN SALUJA CEO, Parle Agro (Photo: Rachit Goswami)

It has been a fruitful year for Schauna Chauhan Saluja, CEO of Parle Agro. The company's flagship brand, the mango drink Frooti, was launched in a fizzy version in March - its first brand extension since it began 32 years ago. Last year, Frooti also grabbed second spot in the mango drinks market, outstripping PepsiCo's Slice (Coca-Cola's Mazaa is No. 1).

Despite facing formidable competitors, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Parle Agro's grip on the fizzy drinks market has been strengthening. Frooti Fizz now reaches 320,000 outlets, while Appy - the first fizzy drink it launched in 2005 - has been growing at more than 20 per cent annually for the last five years. "We are seeing Appy Fizz beating seasonality and becoming an all-year drink with 45 per cent increase in sales in the non-summer season," says Chauhan, 41.

Overall, Parle Agro grew its sales at over 16 per cent in 2016/17. "We are a `3,000 crore company now, and in the next five years we aim to become a `10,000-crore beverages firm," says Saluja. She joined the company founded by her father Prakash Chauhan in 1999, taking over as CEO in 2006.

"We believe in presenting products that are good for the consumer through continuous innovation," she says. She is investing heavily in technology, including automation, at the companies' newer plants in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. She has also revamped the sales and distribution network. "Fully automated systems from beverage making to material handling has increased our overall production capacity by 30-40 per cent," she says. ~

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