Finnish premium brand VEEN Waters, which is famous for its smooth spring water and unique packaging, is eyeing to expand its markets in India by next year. The company, which entered Indian markets in 2012, is currently operating in seven cities and expects to bring that count to 20 cities.
VEEN Waters, which was started in 2007, is known for producing purest water-which means the water is "unspoiled by nitrate with only 0.15 mg per litre". The water is filtered through sandy terrain and is bottled just as it has been lifted from the actual water's sources. In India, VEEN started through a spring water source in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu.
Aman Gupta, Chairman and CEO of VEEN Waters, says 80 per cent of the bottled water sold in India is processed packaged water and people need to be educated on the goodness of natural spring water in the country. "In India, VEEN Waters will be the first premium bottled water that is sold in a transparent glass bottle."
According to industry sources, India has the highest projected compound annual growth rate of 18 per cent in the bottled water category between 2012 and 2017. Foreign brands still face competition due to local licensing laws, high import duties, among other challenges. The premium brands available in India are Himalayan, Qua and Catch.
"We are trying to create a premium category and help transform the Indian bottled water industry from packaged water to natural water. For instance, there is more number of coffee shops now in India than it was five years back. Indians love to eat at restaurants and travel a lot," says Gupta, who is very optimistic about VEEN's reach in India.
VEEN Waters has two premium products - VEEN Velvet and VEEN Effervescent, which are termed as the smoothest spring water in the world. VEEN has tied up with hotels, restaurants worldwide, which include Michelin Starred restaurants-Rasoi (London), Postres (Helsinki), Mr and Mrs Bund (Shanghai), A21 (Helsinki), luxury hotels such as Four Seasons (St. Petersburg), Mandarin Oriental (Singapore), to name a few.
In India, it has tied up with the Lalit Group, Marriott Hotels, Hyatt Regency (Gurgaon), a couple of fine restaurants and coffee shops. "Indian chefs are using our water as it enhances the culinary experience. The new hotel brands are also showing interest in VEEN Waters," Gupta adds.
The company will now be introducing two new variants-VEEN Still and VEEN Classic. VEEN Spring will be bottled from Samste, Bhutan, which is rich in minerals and perfect for daily hydration. The source, which VEEN purchased in November 2013, has a flow capacity of 25 million litres of water per year. The Bhutan facility will be fully functional by this month-end.
"The plant's size is 4,000 sq ft and is a fully automated plant with no human contact to keep the hygiene intact. We will be launching PET bottles (750 ml at Rs 60 and 500 ml at Rs 40) for the retail market in India soon," says Gupta.
Besides India, the plant will source water for other potential markets such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Footnote: The company has rectified an erroneous fact shared earlier with Business Today.
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