Coca-Cola India to be key player in Indian 'fruit circular economy'
Chennai: Expanding its fruit based beverage offerings, frozen fruit dessert, getting into dairy based value added products and also exporting those products developed in India, are some of the plans of Coca-Cola India Pvt Ltd, said a top company official.
He said the company's focus will be on 'fruit circular economy'-- enabling farmers to increase their yield, source pulp and launch fruit based products.
The company is also planning to launch vegetable based beverage like carrot juice.
"We are in the process of developing different fruit beverages including based on regional fruits and would soon be launching them.
"Similarly we will also expand our portfolio of fruit flavoured sparkling drinks like Fanta.
"After successful piloting of our frozen fruit dessert in Bengaluru, we will launch the product in major cities this April," T.Krishnamukar, President, Coca Cola India and Southwest Asia told select media here late on Thursday.
He said the company plans to launch fruit juices based on the regional preferences. For instance, the company would launch mango juices based on mango varieties that are available and popular in a particular region so that there is also a local connect.
"We are also working on a product based on gooseberries," he added.
According to him, the company has tied up with Jain Irrigation that operates fruit pulping plants in different regions.
"We have tied up with Jain Irrigation for sourcing and pulping mango fruit. Similarly we have a tie up with that company for oranges in Maharashtra.
"We expect Jain Irrigation may start setting up an orange pulping plant and the first commercial orange pulp may be available sometime in 2020," Krishnakumar added.
He said the company's focus on fruit beverages is in line with its philosophy of 'beverage for life' meaning to have a product for people in different age groups.
"The philosophy now is to make the company bigger than the Coca-Cola brand. Presently the Coca-Cola group is a $21 billion brand," he said.
According to Krishnakumar, Coca-Cola India with its focus on the 'fruit circular economy' will enable the growth in demand for fruits which in turn would improve the farm practices and increase the farmer income.
"We felt we should be more relevant to the local community. Tastes, views vary based on regions. So we have to move global to local and local to global," he said.
The company will launch the local fruit beverages-including the mango beverage- under the Minute Maid brand.
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"The fruit pulp content will be between 10 per cent to 25 per cent in such drinks," Krishnakumar added.
He said the research and development (R&D) work for new products is being done in India and also in Shanghai in China.
Speaking of exports, he said the company has started exporting Indian brands like the carbonated drink ThumsUp and masala soda RimZim to Bangladesh and later to Sri Lanka, Bhutan and other markets.
"We want to build on Indian brand as a billion dollar beverage brand. We are not shipping the end product but the formula, brand and related matters," he said.
Speaking of the sugar content in the company's beverages, Krishnakumar said work in on to reduce the sugar content in its drinks and in five years time the beverages sold by the company will have far less sugar content than what it currently has.
On foray into the dairy products segment Krishnakumar said during the second half of the current year the company would launch value added dairy product.