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Monday, August 26, 2013

Bovonto ~ Kali Mark against Pepsi - Coke... and Panneer Soda in pet bottle

It is almost end of the month of August but it is still very hot in Chennai – in the sweltering heat, a few minutes outsides leaves you parched.  You would think that an icy-cold soft drink is ‘a must’….  you go to any mall or any shop even it be a roadside one – you get the multinational branded Coke or Pepsi and can enjoy the chill bottled drink.  It might appear to be refreshing but actually it is not – it would neither reduce your thirst nor supplement you in any manner.  Loaded with sugar and devoid of any nutritional value, carbonated soft drinks can only do harm.  You can read that it contains – carbonated water, sugar, caffeine, phosphoric acid, caramel colour and natural flavouring but does not contain any fruit juice or fruit pulp, yes a fruit drink where fruit is not a component in any manner.   An occasional soft drink would be relatively harmless but not when it is consumed displacing nutritional food and beverage.  The soft drink corporations are aggressively marketing their products targetting children mostly through grand advertisements, movies – promoted by Cine stars and sportspersons.

In the world of - Cocoa Cola, Limca, 7 Up, LMN, Slice, Maaza, Mountain dew, Slice, Sprite, Mirinda, Thumsup, Pepsi and more…. would modern day children know that about 4 decades ago, the most selling carbonated drink was “Panneer Soda’ and ‘Goli Soda’………there were so many Soda manufacturers in each area – with big names such as Kali Mark,  Bovonto, Vincents and Mapillai Vinayakar.  Slowly most of them have been pushed out of the market, not only by aggressive campaigns of multi-nationals promoted by big and famous – the subjugation of desi drinks was by some cruel means too………. The industry earlier depended entirely on bottles – the bottles were costly measuring a sizable chunk of the product…. Slowly most of the bottles that went in to the market did not return – reportedly bougth and destroyed by vested interests.  The breakage of the bottle was literally  breaking the very backbone of the small time manufacturers who were ruthlessly eliminated to  capture market share.  The other technique was taking over popular brands including Parle.  Slowly Citra, Thums Up, Goldspot, Torrino, Double seven, Campa cola.. etc., went out of market.

That soda bottles were potent weapons – especially when it came to dispersing crowds by unruly rowdy elements – ‘soda bottle’ throwing was sort of an art – is altogether different dimension – nothing to do with this post…

Once upon a time, in this beautiful World, there used to be a drink called soda partnered by another variant ‘panneer’ soda (flavoured version).  In political meetings the speaker in the midst of  an enthralling speech,  would be offered a soda – the thirst quencher.  The ‘goli soda’ -  soda bottle would have a coloured marble which would serve as closer also was a pure carbonated water made into a fizzy effervescent drink  – while panneer soda was the most sweetened form.  

Away from the world of Pepsi & Coke, Bovonto is a soft drink popular in South India. It is manufactured and marketed by Kali Mark (Kalis Sparkling Water (P) Ltd.), which has offices and bottling plants at several locations in Tamilnadu. The drink is mildly carbonated and has a tangy grape-cola taste. Kali Mark has survived the onslaught of take-overs by multinational giants.  You may not get to see any advertisements for the product and the online presence is also minimal.   Understand that the product Bovonto came into existence in 1916, in Virudhunagar under Mr. P.V.S.K. Palaniappa Nadar. Bovonto entered the city of Bangalore, India, through a few Chettinad restaurants. Recently Kalimark group has reinvented itself with modern technology for production. The shape of Bovonto pet bottle was redesigned and production was increased.

For those who have tasted, Bovonto would give a run for Coke and Pepsi.  It is available in many stores in Chennai – perhaps priced slightly more but still selling in good quantity. It may not provide the facilities like refrigerators, façade make-up and more  that MNCs offer to their dealer – but still has a market share.  There is a good brand image and customer loyalty but very little of marketing, lacks economies of scale. Still Kalimark is a 100 crore + brand by some accounts. 

One always nurtures a fear that the panneer soda that is being sold in mofussil area may not have been manufactured of quality water….. the other day was happy to see that Kalimark has forayed into ‘pet bottles’ and a supermarket in Velachery had ‘Ginger beer and Panneer soda’ of Kali mark brand at a very competitive price.

Tailpiece : Panneer soda is more likened to the fragrant rose water and has nothing  to do with Paneer, the fresh cheese fondly eaten in Asia.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

26th  Aug 2013.


  1. Dear Sir, very well written - totally conveying our sentiments .. I hail from Southern State of Tamilnadu and I feel proud of Bovonto... Ilango

  2. Well said...Nothing can beat the taste of "Paneer Soda" and "Bovanto"., I love them both. Whenever I go to my native place., first I will drink 'Paneer Soda".

  3. Bovonto is good like medicine.. Taste like tonic.But good.. i like it very much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  4. Even bovonto is not a natural drink and it is as harmful as that of coke/Pepsi.kindly read the ingredients in bovonto......

  5. pannersoda rate mrp is 9.00rs but shop is selling 13rs...