India’s largest beverage company, Parle Agro has always been at the forefront of innovation in the development of iconic fruit based beverages like Frooti and Appy which have captured the hearts of India.

In order to cater to the massive demand of their products nationally and globally, the company is focused on updating their internal infrastructure and also aggressively building capabilities and capacities of their fruit processing partners across India.

Since 1985, it has worked consistently with Fruit Farmers and Processors within India with a vision to encourage their development and give them opportunities to elevate their earnings.

It continues on this path and has invested heavily on their processing partners to help them extract their highest potential. Subsequently, the company has taken a determined stand to source 100% from within India itself. Historically, it has always sourced fruits from India while importing from China too, to meet their apple juice content needs. But now, the company has completely stopped sourcing apple juice imports from China and are sourcing them entirely from India alone through its network of Indian farmers.

The company’s foray into the fruit based category in 1985 began with procuring 1,000 MT of mango fruit from their local fruit processing partners to create the company’s popular mango based drink, Frooti’. It has grown exponentially to currently procuring around 150,000 MT of mango fruits into high quality mango pulp; increasing their consumption of mangoes by 150 times. Its range of fruit-based products currently utilise around 210,000 MT of fruit collectively. Over the past decade and a half, the company’s consumption of fruits has increased fivefold. Approximately one third of the fruit pulp produced in India is consumed by Parle Agro.

After its successful foray in creating robust mango processing supply chains, it envisioned the creation of a similar network for apple juice concentrate due to the immense popularity of its apple based drinks like Appy, Appy Fizz and B Fizz. The company’s requirement for apples has risen from 5,000 MT to around 60,000 MT of fruit. This has had a significant impact on local economies by contributing to local farmers’ incomes, as well as the growth opportunities for local apple processing partners.

Certain challenges faced by apple processors in India had led to issues with procuring of this fruit 100% for beverage manufacturers. Challenges included limited availability of apples and outdated technology in processing abilities of Apple Processing Units in India. Nationally, apples are procured from the regions of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, which have poor road infrastructure, low quality fruits, high transport costs, political turmoil, erratic weather and shortage of skilled labour. Therefore demand had to be fulfilled by some amount of imports.

It has worked actively towards changing the situation, leading to the complete discontinuation of all apple juice imports from China to sourcing these 100% from India. The company has supported in upgrading fruit processing facilities of four processors based in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Parle Agro is working closely with them to build their processing capabilities, increase outputs and build efficiency leading to reduction in wastage.

Schauna Chauhan, CEO, Parle Agro, said, “Parle Agro has, and will always be ‘India-focused’ in terms of sourcing raw materials and strengthening infrastructure. We aim to participate in India’s glorious growth story by contributing to building India economically and by creating opportunities for small farmers and SMEs and MSMEs across India. Our goal is always to be at the forefront of improving and building up capabilities of our partners in India and deliver the best class products in the beverage category.”