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Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Himalayan - Packaging
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Posted by at 9:14 AM | Permalink



Himalayan, the expensive bottled water with the distinctive pink label has changed. Himalayan was bought by Tata Tea recently and the Tata's have completed a rebranding exercise changing the Himalayan logo and packaging along with some other elements of it's identity.


In pure design terms, this new look provides some refreshing visual changes in a cluttered bottled water market. The transparent label, simple imagery and irregular layout are all effective. The shape of the bottle has changed as well from the old square cross-section to a more amorphous rounded form for a more "natural" feel.

Himalayan has managed to differentiate it's look in line with it's premium mineral water image. And that seems like a good idea. This along with the strong associations with customers like star hotels, high-end restaurants, multiplexes works well.

But when you're selling a product as simple as drinking water with just premium imagery and source credibility to back it up, every detail counts. And one detail that Himalayan had got wrong and Tata seems to be continuing to ignore is the bottle. Natural spring / mineral water tastes richer and less bland than purified drinking water, simply because of the fact that in a stream, water carries several taste enhancing minerals which are removed in the purification process [ along with impurities ]. Many batches of Himalayan however have an "off" taste. A faintly fruity, almost coconut like smell emanates from the inside of the bottle. The reason for this is acetaldehyde formation during PET bottling.

"...For bottled water, low acetaldehyde content is quite important, because if nothing masks the aroma, even extremely low concentrations (10-20 parts per billion parts of resin, by weight) of acetaldehyde can produce an off-taste. The thermal and thermooxidative degradation results in poor processibility characteristics and performance of the material..."
wikipedia

Lots of complex sounding technology behind this, which I recognize only because I started my career in bottled beverages. In net effect: Himalayan is trying to make a premium mineral water brand, apparently, without the corresponding investment in packaging technology. I suspect that if your "natural mineral water" tastes worse than normal filtered water, no amount of branding and imagery will be enough to rescue the product.

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