Betting big on the fast growing low sugar beverage segment, Coca-Cola India plans to introduce low and zero sugar variants of its sparkling brands over the next two years. The beverage major also said its bottling partners are in the process of investing about $1 billion for production expansion till March next year.
The company reported June quarter as the best ever in volume terms in India backed by strong growth in household penetration.
Speaking at a select media roundtable, Sanket Ray, President, Coca-Cola India and South-West Asia, said, “We witnessed nearly 500 per cent growth in the zero-sugar segment in the first half of the year. We want to sharply focus on building consumption occasions and offer choices to our consumers. So we have a very clear strategy, all leading sparkling brands in our portfolio will have a range of zero, medium and low-sugar variants over the next two years.”
As part of this broader hydration strategy, the company is launching Limca Sportz , which comes with glucose and electrolytes and is endorsed by Neeraj Chopra. It is also gearing up for a pan-India launch of its caffeinated beverage called Charged by Thums Up after piloting it in Punjab.
“On one hand we are focusing on portfolio expansion to give more choices, on the other we are increasing the production capacity to grow the availability of our products. Our bottling partners are in the process of making investments of about a billion dollars beginning from March 2021 till March 2023. This will help increase the production capacity by 30-40 per cent,” Ray explained.
The company also said it has grown its household penetration to 32.3 per cent in India, up 7 per cent since last year. “This is the highest ever that we have seen in the past ten years. We added nearly one million additional outlets to our distribution network, growing the reach of our product portfolio to about four million outlets in the country. Besides, we have also stepped up focus on marketing and ensuring the right portfolio is available depending on the stores. We have also been strongly focusing on affordability with single serve packs and returnable glass bottles,” he added.
In the global earnings call on Tuesday, Coca-Cola said that in India Q2 was its best-ever quarter volumetrically delivering one billion incremental transactions. “Overall , we have been growing in double digits in the past three years. As part of our revenue growth management strategy, recruiting customers to our portfolio and hence growing incremental transactions will remain critical,” Ray added.