Nitin in India, but it has not

Nitin Gupta, pr?fessor ?f marketing at th? Institute ?f Management
Technology (IMT) at Hyderabad, feels that unless Coca-Cola “successfully
broadens its assortment ?f products, th? goal that CEO Quincey has in mind
seems quite ambitious.” According to Gupta, Coca-Cola ??n probably “fare well”
in th? dairy/juice/plant-based segment, but oth?r segments like sparkling,
energy, water/sports drinks, he says, are currently “too niche” in India and
would continue to be so in th? near future. Ready-to-drink c?ffee and teas, he
feels, “??n be considered, but th? competition in this segment is huge, and
Coca-Cola’s success with its current ?fferings has been very limited.”
Suggesting that th? best bet for Coca-Cola in India could be packaged juices,
Gupta says: “Th? going would be tough for Coca-Cola in th? packaged juices
market in India, but that’s where th? future lies. I feel that this initiative ?f
Cola-Cola, though expensive at th? outset, would reap future benefits.”

Kakkar sees potential in ready-to-drink tea.
He points out that in China and Japan, which have high tea consumption like
India, th? conversion to packaged tea has been huge; it is one ?f th? biggest
categories ?f packaged beverages. “Some ?f th? highest selling brands in
beverages in Japan and China are in packaged tea. I believe that th?re is a lot
?f scope for product innovation in tea in India. Th?re is a huge opportunity to
move consumers from unpackaged to packaged tea. It is not that oth?rs like
Pepsi Lipton and Nestle have not tried in India, but it has not worked out so
far. I think if Coca-Cola makes th? effort, it has th? wherewithal to make it
work,” he notes.

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Th? going would be tough for Coca-Cola in th? packaged juices
market in India, but that’s where th? future lies.” –Nitin Gupta


According to
data from Nielsen, from October 2016 to September this year, th? share ?f
Coca-Cola’s mango-based brand, Maaza, which is th? market leader in th? juices,
nectars and still drinks category, declined from 35.4% to 33.1%. During th?
same period, Pepsi’s mango drink Slice fell from 13.9% to 9.6%, while Indian
firms Parle Agro and Dabur increased th?ir shares. Parle Agro’s Frooti moved up
from 14% to 15.7% and Dabur’s Real brand ?f mango juice inched up to 9.8% from

In an
interview with business daily Th? Economic Times,
Nadia Chauhan, joint managing director at Parle Agro, said: “While we have been
extremely aggressive with our overall marketing strategy, we have also worked
on building an extremely advanced go-to-market strategy.” Mayank Kumar,
marketing head ?f juices and beverages at Dabur, said: “Our understanding ?f th?
Indian palate and preferences has helped us stay ahead ?f th? curve.” Dabur is
estimated to have more than 50% share ?f India’s packaged juices segment.

Coca-Cola’s arch rival, PepsiCo, is also on a similar track ?f expanding its
portfolio. It recently launched two vitamin-fortified flavored drinks. In a
recent interview with business daily Business Standard,
Vipul Prakash, senior vice-president beverage category at PepsiCo India, said:
“Value-added dairy, hydration and juices are th? three growing categories now.
Any beverage company that wants to be successful has to play in all th?se three
product segments.”


“It is unlikely that th? company will have a walk over. Th?
market will get th?m to slog for every rupee.” –Y.L.R. Moorthi


                   Kapoor lists four
recommendations, which he says could be used to boost th? top-line and
bottom-line growth ?f Coca-Cola in India. “First, India is not a ‘s?ft drink’
market. It is a ‘cold-drink’ market. Refrigeration is going to be a key element
in this tropical country, and it needs to be enhanced. Second, th? focus on
distribution and penetration must be increased. India has 8,100 towns and
650,000 villages…. Th?se need to be penetrated. While visibility and taste are
important in a country like India, availability is extremely important. Third,
in order to increase sales, th? company needs to move consumers from occasional
consumption to regular consumption. Fourth, India being a diverse country with
various languages and consumption behavioral trends, regional sensitivities
need to be crafted into marketing strategies.”

According to Kapoor, th? five
beverages clusters are “a sensible portfolio ?f categories.” He says: “Each ?f th?se
categories has tremendous potential for growth, but care needs to be taken to
appropriately use segmentation and positioning for each ?f th?m.” Moorthi adds
anoth?r note ?f caution: With all ?f its initiatives, Coca-Cola might be able
to ?ffer an interesting story in India. But, he adds, “it is unlikely that th?
company will have a walk over. Th? market will get th?m to slog for every