India: Mahindra to raise the bar with fruit brand Saboro

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India: Mahindra to raise the bar with fruit brand Saboro

In an interview with, a representative from Indian car manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) outlines plans to scale-up production for the company's fruit brand, Saboro, following successful trials for apples in the Indian domestic market. Over the coming months it will introduce a variety of grapes to global export markets and Indian consumers who have, so far, been willing to pay for premium quality fruit.

Mahindra corporate communications general manager Mohan Nair says around 10 metric tons (MT) of Saboro apples have gone on sale via Indian retailer Heritage, and have been somewhat of a tester for the new brand that comes with a superior-quality promise to match its higher-than-average price tag.

Mahindra agri & allied business chief executive Ashok Sharma

Mahindra agri & allied business chief executive Ashok Sharma

Next in line are branded grapes to be sold in Hyderabad, the capital of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, before export to a range of international markets.

Sold under the Saboro brand, Mahindra is gearing up to introduce grapes, bananas and citrus in its growing basket of fruit after entering this market last November with the launch of Saboro, which originates from the Spanish word for taste.

"Our Saboro grapes will be introduced by March or April, through the same arrangement with the Heritage retail chain, though we will to tie up with other partners as well," Nair said.

"Amounts depend on the demand and the reception we receive but they will be sold over the next three months. We will start with the Sonaka variety and then move to Thomson Seedless, Sharad Seedless, Flame and Red Globe.

"We are currently India’s largest exporter of grapes and we will be exporting to mainly Europe, Russia, the Middle East and South East Asia."

Currently Mahindra is focusing on the domestic market for Saboro apples, but has plans in the pipeline to scale up operations and explore export markets, given they have been 'very well received' by Indian consumers over the last few months.

"We received a very good response in the market when the Saboro brand was introduced. We sourced around 580MT of apples this year; however, most were wholesaled before Saboro was introduced. Right now we are only focusing Saboro apples in the domestic market.

"Through Saboro we have sold around 10MT so far and we will be scaling up during the next season."

Mahindra sources grapes from the farmers of the western Maharashtra state based in the regions of Nashik, Sangli and Latur, and is in consultation with partner organizations to develop ripening and storage facilities.

"We provide end to end farm extension services, MRL testing, certification facilities and buyback based on a profit sharing model to our farmers. They have shown productivity improvement of 50% in the last three years.

"Saboro is a premium fruit brand and all of our fruit will be around 10% to 15% more expensive than ordinary fruits, but they will be priced competitively with imported branded fruits sold in that country.

"In return, the consumer gets assured quality with the best quality fruits which are grown through an effective and thoughtful process. Consumers should also see Saboro bananas and citrus in addition to apples and grapes, in the near future."

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