DS Group, which makes the popular Pulse candy, is now launching a mango drink, Pulse Mango – Masala Maar Ke, to compete with beverage giants that manufacture Frooti, Maaza and Slice, The Times of India reported. Officials said the Noida-based company, which also manufactures Catch condiments and Pass Pass mouth freshner, is test marketing the product at Rs 15 for a 250ml bottle in the National Capital Region. Analysts say the mango juice category is a tough market to succeed in as Indians are very discerning about the fruit.

The firm's senior vice-president for new product development, Shashank Surana, said the initial consumer feedback has been "very encouraging". The juice category has a year-on-year growth rate of 15% and is valued at Rs 5,000 crore. It comprises products from major soft drink stakeholders such as Coca-Cola, Parle Agro, PepsiCo and Hector Beverages. Mango drinks dominate the category with an 80% share in the country. The report quotes Euromonitor data, which shows Maaza as the market leader.

The group's Pulse candy brand hit the Rs 100-crore mark within eight months of its entering the market, putting it on a par with Coca Cola's diet beverage Coke Zero. The candy, which has an unusual masala centre, became a social media phenomenon soon after its launch, with the company hardly able to keep up with the demand.