Parle to buy 600 tonnes of apple concentrate from Himachal Pradesh

November 8th, 2008 - 5:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Nov 8 (IANS) Leading food and beverage company Parle Agro announced it will buy 600 tonnes of apple juice concentrate worth Rs.60 million from Himachal Pradesh Horticultural Produce Marketing and Processing Corp (HPMC).The apple concentrate is used for fruit juices, nectars and drinks.

“Parle Agro has placed the order for 600 tonnes of apple juice concentrate,” said B.L. Raghav, general manager of the state-run HPMC.

Other companies that are regularly buying the apple concentrate from HPMC are Godrej Industries Foods Division, Nestle, Mohan Meakin Ltd and Tempest Cider.

“Most of the beverage companies are placing the order for apple concentrate with the onset of summer when the demand for juices increases considerably,” he said.

He added that a number of new companies have now entered into the Rs.1.5-billion beverage industry as demand for such products goes up to new levels in India.

“The apple concentrate has a huge market with its potential still to be tapped,” said Tempest Cider managing director Dinesh Gupta.

Cider is an alcoholic drink made from fermented apple concentrate. It is quite popular in Britain, which has the highest per capita consumption as well as the largest cider-producing companies in the world.

“Earlier, HPMC was also in the business of making cider. Now a few private manufacturers in the hill state are producing it. We (Tempest Cider) alone are selling 40,000 to 50,000 cases of 12 bottles every year. The demand is quite good in northern states and even in Goa,” Gupta said.

Apple is the main fruit crop of the state and is being grown in nine out of 12 districts. Apple fruit accounts for about 40 percent of the total area under all fruit crop cultivation.

More than 200,000 families in Himachal Pradesh are engaged in apple cultivation and 90 percent of them are small and marginal farmers with an average holding of less than 0.6 hectare.

Besides apples, other fruits such as pears, peaches, cherries and plums are the major commercial crops of the state.

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