Areez Khambatta Passes Away

Industrialist, philanthropist, ex-Chairman of WAPIZ, and Ex-President of the Ahmedabad Parsi Panchayat, most popularly and fondly remembered as the founder of ‘Rasna’ (the world-famous soft-drink concentrate), Areez Pirojsha Khambatta, passed away on 19th November, 2022, due to a cardiac arrest, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, at the age of 85.

Born in 1937, Areez Khambatta, took over the reigns of the modest business started by his father decades ago, in 1976, and went on to establish the popular, orange-flavoured beverage brand ‘Rasna’, which became a household name by the early 1980s. Subsequently, the ‘Rasna Girl’ became an instant hit with its iconic, ‘I love you, Rasna,’ tagline. Rasna’s popularity was due to its value-for-money offering, targeting the price-sensitive Indian consumer. Khambatta, a professional flavourist, sold the soft drink concentrates for ₹5 per pack, which could serve up to 32 glasses of drinks, and was a favourite among India’s burgeoning middle-class.

The Ahmedabad-based, family-owned firm today boasts of a diversified portfolio of spreads, beverage concentrates, soft-drinks, and energy drinks, with a presence in over 60 countries. It has nine manufacturing plants, and a distribution network with 26 depots in India, besides 200 super-stockists and 5,000 stockists, with a sales force of 900 covering 1.6 million outlets.

Though a shift in consumption habits and the dominance of Pepsi, Sprite, Thums Up and Coca Cola, have gradually dimmed the prospects of soft-drink concentrate as a category, Rasna, which is now the world’s largest gentle drink focus producer, still enjoys a high recall. Over the years, Rasna won various awards including the prestigious Superior Taste Award 2008 instituted by The International Taste and Quality Institute, Belgium Cannes Lions London, Monde Selection Award, Master Brand The World Brand Congress Award and ITQI superior taste and quality award.

Khambatta started India’s original startup by creating the world famous Rasna brand, which even to this day quenches the thirst of millions at an affordable price, offering fruits, vitamins and nutrient supplements. His efforts created thousands of direct and indirect jobs in India, and the fruit-based pulps helped millions of farmers get better value for crops across India.

Areez Khambatta contributed immensely to Indian industry, business and societal development as Commandant of Ahmedabad Home Guards and Civil Defence for twenty years. The Trust and Foundations under his chairmanship have been involved in various projects to do with health care, education and scholarship. He held various positions in community organizations, including Chairman of Areez Khambatta Benevolent Trust, which oversees the corporate social responsibility initiatives of the group, and Rasna Foundation. He was also former Chairman of World Alliance of Parsi Irani Zarthostis, the Past President of Ahmedabad Parsi Panchayat, and Vice President of the Federation of Parsi Zoroastrian Anjumans of India.

He was the recipient of the President of India’s Home Guard and Civil Defence Medal, as also the Paschimi Star, Samarseva and Sangram medals. He was honoured with the National Citizen’s Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution In The Field Of Commerce’ by then President of India – Shankar Dayal Sharma. He was also conferred the Samman Patra by the Finance Ministry for his contribution to the National Exchequer as the highest taxpayer of Gujarat. He was felicitated by the Ahmedabad Parsi Panchayat and chosen as the first Outstanding Parsi of Ahmedabad.

A few years back, Areez Khambatta passed on the baton of the unlisted business to his son Piruz Khambatta, who is now the Group Chairman. Piruz, who entered the business at age 18 in 1992, increased the accessibility of the product in rural areas and launched the concentrate at a unit price of Rs 2, making six glasses. He also launched many other flavours.


A note released by WAPIZ on the passing of its Founder Chairman – Areez Khambatta, honoured him thus, “In the annals of Parsi history his timely intervention on behalf of the orthodox, by helping to create WAPIZ, was a significant watermark in the community’s history. As Chairman of WAPIZ, he led like a general would, from the front… Areez was a true leader who could galvanize the community. His speeches at the famous WAPIZ annual functions which he supported and the legal cases he financed and fought for to safeguard the Parsi Kom, left the community feeling strong and vibrant..”

Areez Khambatta is survived by his wife Persis, and children Piruz, Delna, and Ruzan, his daughter-in-law Binaisha, and grandchildren – Arzeen, Arzad, Avan, Areez, Firoza and Arnavaz. His family is committed to carrying on his lofty legacy which highlights his principles of duty to the country and to the Zarthosti religion; and in following his high standards of ethics and ideals in business and society.


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