Global Economics

Coke Prepares Big Expansion in India


Coca-Cola is introducing an extensive lineup of products in India this year, including a fortified powder drink and energy beverage Burn

Beverage major Coca-Cola India is readying an extensive roll-out of products for this year. The exercise will kick off next month with a fortified low-priced powder drink Vitingo (an orange-flavoured beverage powder with micronutrients), which will be followed by a phased launch of global energy drink Burn in the next quarter.

The company is also working on introducing a lemonade later in the year. This would be its third lime-based drink, besides the existing Sprite and Limca brands. This lemon-based drink could be either under Coca-Cola's juice franchise brand Minute Maid or aerated drink Fanta.

The new lime-based drink would be among the company's most ambitious launches, sources close to the development told ET. According to industry officials, the market for packaged nimbu pani in India, almost entirely unorganised till now, poses growth potential higher than most packaged drinks.

Meanwhile, the American giant has signed up cricketer Gautam Gambhir for its summer campaigns. The summer ad campaigns will coincide with the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), scheduled for April-May. Also, the company recently picked up sponsorship of GMR Sports-owned IPL team Delhi Daredevils.

The company plans to launch global energy drink Burn in phases and in select outlets only. Rival PepsiCo had rolled out its own energy drink, SoBe, in October last year. Though the domestic energy drinks category is niche with the only significant brands being Red Bull, SoBe and Power Horse, it is an emerging category.

In response to an ET query on the upcoming launches, a Coca-Cola India spokesperson said: "We continue to explore a wide variety of beverage opportunities and would let you know as soon as our plans fructify."

Vitingo will be introduced next month as a pilot project in Orissa. The fortified product, a first of this kind by Coca-Cola India, is being launched in association with NGO, Bharat Integrated Social Welfare Agency (BISWA), along with various other self-help groups.

"The Vitingo project involves educating communities and providing affordable alternatives to alleviate micronutrient malnutrition in Orissa. Coca-Cola and BISWA will reach out to nearly one million women and children by 2010 as part of the project," the Coca-Cola spokesperson said.

Besides the new launches, Fanta Apple, introduced in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in October 2008, will be rolled out in the North during the summers. Similar to the markets in the South, Fanta Apple variant will be introduced in 200-ml and 300-ml returnable glass bottles and 500-ml PET packs. Both aerated and non-carbonated fruit drinks are high-potential categories. The fruit-based non-carbs drinks market, for example, is growing faster than the pure juice category.

As per the industry data, as much as 90% of on-the-go or outdoor juice consumption happens through juices vended loose. The total market, including juices, nectars and fruit drinks, is estimated at 500-million cases by volume. Of this, up to 90% is accounted for by out-of-home or on-the-go consumption.

Coca-Cola has clocked nine quarters of growth and posted 18% increase in unit case volume sales in the July-September 2008 quarter over the previous corresponding quarter—its highest since the pesticide controversy in 2003.


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