Coca-Cola accelerating focus on at-home consumption, functional beverages

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on August 04, 2020

T Krishnakumar, President, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia   -  The Hindu

Hopes to revive away-from-home channel in next 6-12 months

Coca-Cola India is sharpening its focus on accelerating at-home consumption segment and hopes to revive out-of-home consumption channel gradually in the next 6-12 months as it is optimistic about business getting back to the pre-Covid levels in the next few quarters.

Speaking to a select media on Tuesday, T Krishnakumar, President, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia, said, “All our 55 plants (include company-owned and franchise-owned plants) are operational and running at capacities based on demand and depending on their geographical locations. From the production levels perspective, we are in a pretty decent shape in terms of what we normally produce during this period, which is off-season for us.”

“Looking at the way demand is picking-up and if everything goes well, we are optimistic business will get back to normal in the next few quarters and we will back to where we were in the first two months of this year,” he added.

It said the major chunk of the demand is currently coming from at-home consumption segment as it is steadily scaling up away-from channel as more markets and outlets open. Krishnakumar said, “ We are accelerating at-home consumption segment by creating affordable versions of our existing products in new packs and new forms. We are also focussed on expanding our presence in the grocery channel. These measures will be backed by marketing strategies to create more relevance of our portfolio for at-home occasions.”

“ As we systematically accelerate at-home consumption, we are also focussing on reviving away-from-home consumption channel in the next 6-12 months, which is an important channel for us,” he added.

Focus on functional beverages

Coca-Cola India is also growing its focus on functional beverages as consumers’ preferences are increasingly shifting towards nutritious and immunity-boosting products in Covid-19 times.

The company on Tuesday launched two new products under brand Minute Maid. Minute Maid Vita Punch is a range of fruit cocktails enriched with Vitamin C to support immunity. It is also scaling up Minute Maid Nutriforce which is fortified with zinc, iron and essential vitamins. Both the two new products will be available on the retail shelf by August 15.

IPL investment plan

On its investment plan for IPL, Vijay Parasuraman – Vice-President - Marketing, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia, said, “We continue to stay invested in cricket as a long-term strategy. We do have on-ground partnerships with five IPL teams and we are working with them as things evolve, as the games will shift to another country this year. In terms of advertising on IPL, we will see how things unfold and we haven’t taken a decision as yet.”

Talking about the company’s business continuity plans, Krishnakumar said once the lockdown was imposed, the company’s initial focus was on efforts to implement safety and hygiene protocols and community programmes.

“That happened during our peak period and we definitely at that point missed a bit of the business. Subsequently as we moved towards restoring operations at our plants and distribution networks, we are seeing improvement in consumption and demand trends,” he added. The company said it’s also scaling up its abilities to have a stronger presence across e-commerce and digital channels.

Published on August 04, 2020

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