To beat the heat during summer, natural drinks are a refreshing option to hydrate ourselves. To quench our thirst in a more natural way, summer drinks like bael, aam panna and sugarcane juice are among the top options. These summer drinks instantly boost our energy levels with their natural sugar content and provide several health benefits.
Haryana-based Nutricane Beverages is committed to creating natural beverages in India with its processed sugarcane juice brand, OMG! (Oh My Ganna). This new-age range is a delicious blend of fruit with sugarcane juice which not only enhances flavor, but also elevates the nutritional profile of the juice, and is a source of vitamins and other essential micro-nutrients.
The short shelf life of sugarcane juice
Sugarcane juice extracted using a juice extractor cannot stay fresh for a longer time due to the presence of natural sugars. Various factors including high invert sugars, polysaccharides (Dextran) and microbial contamination (ethanol and lactic acid formation) tend to spoil the juice quickly. Moreover, fresh juice available from roadside vendors is often unhygienic. To tackle this issue, the founders of Nutricane found a solution. Dipin Kapur, a co-founder of Nutricane Beverages, stated while sharing OMG’s inception story, “On a road trip some years ago, we stopped for this yummy treat by the street side, and even the less than ideal conditions of hygiene and cleanliness did not quite deter us. That was our Eureka moment as we wondered why this sweet goodness had never been hygienically extracted and packaged to last longer, before.”
Long shelf life in a natural way
While natural juices and traditional drinks are gaining popularity, adding preservatives to increase their shelf life is the not the preference of consumers who are interested in healthier options. Speaking about Nutricane’s special process for preserving juices, Kapur said, “We have developed a process to preserve sugarcane juice without using any chemical preservatives through our own R&D over three years. We call this a ‘FreshFusion’ process, which allows us to preserve the juice for up to 12 months. OMG’s sugarcane juice has a shelf life of 6 months under ambient conditions.” While declining to disclose its details, he said that the proprietary process is awaiting the grant of a patent. Nutricane’s plant in Jhajjar, Haryana has an annual capacity of 30 million bottles. In coming years it plans to expand to South India.
Orange, apple and litchi juices to be launched soon
OMG has a sugarcane juice range and a fruit juices range whose base is sugarcane juice. While the sugarcane juice range is available in lemon, ginger and cumin flavors, the fruit juice range currently consists of mango and guava. “We will soon be launching orange, apple and litchi,” shared Kapur. Available in glass bottles, Nutricane believes that glass is healthier, environment friendly, non-porous and offers the best preservation for beverages.
The new fusion process is likely to disrupt the packaged juice market. “Our process is designed to extend the shelf life of sugarcane juice without the loss of nutrients and to ensure the taste is similar to fresh juice. Our products are manufactured under stringent hygienic conditions and offer wholesome, highly nutritious juices which do not contain any added sugar.”
Potential in India and global markets
The sugarcane juice market in India is predominantly an unorganized sector where millions of small kiosks pop up in all parts through the year. Kapur said that there is no quantifiable data available regarding the unorganized sugarcane juice market. “We are the first company to really create a sugarcane juice market as a ready-to-drink juice and also extending its use to manufacture other juices. While we expect competition in the near future, we hope to lead this segment which we expect to reach at least Rs 700-800 crore in the next 7-8 years.” Available in select cities in the country, Nutricane recently began exports to South Africa, Netherlands, USA and Qatar.