Eureka Forbes has launched a portable water purifier which works without electricity.
In the good old days, bottled water meant a bottle that people filled up. Purification was of little concern and it was pretty common to see travelers filling plastic bottles with water at railway stations.
Now, Eureka Forbes plans to bring back the glorious old days, but with a twist. In what could pose a major threat to the bottled water players, the water purification major has launched a first-of-its-kind solution. The Shapoorji Pallonji group company's 'Aquaguard-on-the-Go' is pitched as the cheapest water purifier in the world.
The product allows consumers to purify drinking water without using electricity - access to power is a must in most of the company's other purifiers. Priced at Rs 595, the product is a reusable sipper with a purifying cartridge. It is aimed at schoolchildren, travelers, office-goers, sports persons and adventurers who can use it without having to buy bottled water.
"While most of us have access to safe drinking water at home, the problem arises when we go out. We either buy bottled water or drink from the tap or consume the water that is served at restaurants," says Marzin Shroff, CEO, Eureka Forbes. He adds that the consequences range from mild gastrointestinal distress to serious bacterial and water-borne diseases such as hepatitis, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and diarrhoea. This product aims to counter that.
A single cartridge can purify around 600 litres of water and needs to be changed twice a year. A cartridge costs Rs 450. Considering the initial investment in the sipper, that proposition makes bottled water available to consumers for as cheap as Re 1 per litre of purified water and could hit bottled water makers where it hurts.
According to analysts, the product can be a game-changer in the Rs 3,000-crore bottled water market, which is growing at 25 per cent annually and features players such as Bisleri, Aquafina and Himalayan. They added that the product can eat into this market share as it will be cheaper and eco-friendly. It will also solve the problem of recycling plastic bottles.
The product, which took seven years of research and development in India and the US, claims to make even sewage water drinkable.
Positioned as the world's first personal water purifier, 'Aquaguard-on-the-Go', Shroff says, is another among the firsts from Eureka Forbes, known to have revolutionised the now Rs 1,500-crore water purifier market in the country. The bottle is made of non-toxic plastic and has antimicrobial properties.
While the company has done a soft launch in India at a few stores in metros, it claims to have already got rave reviews from consumers in West Asia, Africa and South-East Asia. The company intends to sell close to a million bottles over the next two years in the major markets before entering the rural market.