Beverage major Coca-Cola views India as a big growth opportunity. The company will continue to invest in sparkling beverages and fruit juices, which works out to several crores of rupees annually. Atul Singh, President & CEO, Coca-Cola India, in an interview with Hindustan Times, explained why.
Are you looking at further investments and product portfolio expansion?
India is a strategic market for us. It’s a market where we’ll continue to invest across our existing portfolio – what we already have. So far, we have invested over US$1 billion in India. Annually, we spend several crores of rupees in India. The opportunity is big and through research and trials, we are trying to deliver what the consumer wants.
A number of our recent launches, including Maaza Milky Delight, are a result of that. A lot of investment will go behind such initiatives in areas of sparkling beverages and fruit juices.
Maaza Milky Delite is available in Bengal. Any plans to launch it across India?
The challenge is to get the ice-cold products across many parts of the country. Cold chain is an issue and we need to address that. With technology, things will change and we are already getting more and more involved with it.
We are already doing our bit by using solar coolers for our distributions system.
As you make further inroads into the Indian landscape, do you see a need to add more affordable product to your portfolio?
A bottle of Coke at Rs. 9 is affordable. There will certainly be some experiments on the product side, packaging or others.
Could you share details on your pulp sourcing and consumption requirements?
We do not divulge the consumption numbers. All I can say is that Coca-Cola India aims to work closely with farmers and invest close to $2 million over the next three years to boost mango yields.
We are working with Jain Irrigation, our largest pulp partner, to kick-start a project from Andhra Pradesh wherein farmers get an opportunity to double their yield while we benefit from a continuous supply of mango pulp.
The experiment could be taken to other crops.