From the sixth largest market in volume terms, James Quincey, CEO, Coca-Cola wants India to be the third largest market in the future. At a select media gathering, the Coca-Cola global CEO also highlighted that the beverage major will continue with its investment plan of $5 billion. The company expects volume turnaround momentum to continue. “We had a rough few months at the end of last year and the beginning of this year but things have started to turn around and we continue to remain positive. With the business momentum improving in India, the company will continue to invest not just in the brands but in the manufacturing and in distribution as well.
India is going to return to vibrant growth and can be a very successful place to build the business. The ideal is let’s get from six to five on the way to being number three.” Profits of Coca-Cola India, the local arm of the American beverages company, have increased by over 40% in the past four years, which also saw the company’s volume growing by 176 million unit cases. The company would invest in building capabilities and infrastructure to see long-term growth, said Quincey.
The company further plans to reduce sugar content in its products but Quincey did not offer a timeline as to when Coca-Cola would implement it. Faster growth in India will also come from non-carbonated (non-sparkling) drinks, as elsewhere. He said sparkling drinks will continue to grow in india and will remain the focus in the immediate future. The company is also open to inorganic growth opportunities. Earlier in 1993, when Coca-Cola re-entered India, it had bought out the local brand ThumsUp, which still continues to be the volume driver for the company in the Indian market.
Going forward, Coca-Cola will be investing more in the non-sparkling segment to expand the portfolio.
Coca-Cola on Thursday announced the launch of Minute Maid Pulpy Santra that contains orange juice. “ If you went back 10 to 15 years, the business was still 90% sparkling globally, which now is under 70%. We see an opportunity to not just continue but accelerate the broadening of the portfolio,” said T Krishnakumar, Coca-Cola India president.