Milo Tetra Pak is available across the country in comparison to the tins and regular packs, which are being pushed in the west and southern markets. The strategy, said sources, was to quietly build a base for Milo in pockets where health food drink consumption was high. Tamil Nadu, for instance, is a key market where Milo is being given an aggressive distribution push. It is also a market where Horlicks is strong.
Globally, Nestlé counts countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines among its important ones for Milo and has been looking at a larger India footprint for the brand, which it first revived in 2017. The Milo Tetra Pak was first launched in 2017 (in India) and was spruced up during the relaunch in August in a bid to create excitement.
According to sources, HUL on the other hand is expected to look at all product formats as it seeks to maintain leadership in health food drinks. Both Horlicks and Boost together enjoy 65 per cent volume share in a Rs 7,000-crore market, said industry experts. Volume-wise, health food drinks are growing at 12 per cent per annum, while value-wise, the category is growing at 9 per cent per annum.
Apart from Horlicks, Boost and Milo, brands such as Complan, acquired by the Ahmedabad-based Zydus Wellness, Bournvita from Mondelez India and Pediasure and Protinex from Abbott and Danone, respectively are some of the other key players in the market.
The Nestlé-HUL battle in health food drinks, said experts, would be interesting to watch owing to the strong nutrition push that the two companies
are eyeing with their respective portfolios. HUL had pipped Nestlé to the post in the race to acquire Horlicks and Boost last year, offering to pay Rs 32,000 crore for an all-stock merger of GSK Consumer into it.
HUL’s Chairman and Managing Director Sanjiv Mehta had said the market opportunity in health food drinks was significant for players, since nutrition needs were steadily growing in the country.
Suresh Narayanan, chairman and managing director, Nestlé India, said the health food drinks market was an evolving one in the country and that Milo fits in with the company’s broader taste-plus-health narrative.