Coca-Cola India and South West Asia President T. Krishnakumar (popularly known as KK) spoke to TOI about how the cola giant is chalking out a hyper-local strategy for India that includes region-specific products and sub-brands. Coke is also introducing juice with fizz in India and extending its global iconic brands like Fanta and Sprite. KK was in the city (Kolkata) recently for participating in the fifth Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) earlier this month.
Q. What is your strategy for India?
For the last two years, we have been trying to expand our portfolio and segment it too. We know a lot of people in India who will opt for transactions of 10-20 Rupees. There are a lot of people who can transact in the middle price band and people who are affluent who can transact in higher amounts. On that basis, we have imposed the fact that in India, there are multiple categories of soft drinks. We call them non-alcoholic sparkling, dairy, hydration beverages and juices. So, we said that we have to straddle five of those categories
Q. In Tamil Nadu you have launched Colour with different sub-brands — a mix of sparkling and juice. Do you have any plans to extend it to others states?
We are creating a portfolio which is very localised. In Tamil Nadu, we have launched Minute Maid Colour- a combination of fizz and juice. In the eastern part of India with Bengal being the pivot, litchi is a very accepted flavour. We have launched litchi juice drink, under the Minute Maid franchise, and it is already available. We are seriously thinking of launching something which is sparkling, again with litchi. So we are really going to expand our portfolio and that’s something which we are going to do state by state. There are some states where apple is popular so we will look at Apple Sparkle
Q. Do you have any plan to get into the Ayurvedic segment like Amla juice or cucumber juice to get into this health drink segment?
When I say juice it is fruits and vegetables broadly. Basically what I always say is, in one extreme, we have indulgence, like I believe some of our products are just for joy- you have it, you feel happy. And the other extreme, is absolute functionality- you get a benefit, absolute benefit. We are going to be in both sides. In this journey, we have launched in a small way, one of our products called ‘Minute Maid Vitingo’ which is actually an iron supplement, a sub-brand of Minute Maid.
Q. What is your plan on the fizz and non-fizz mix?
Now, actually we don’t share the exact mix. But I can tell you the good news is that all three categories are growing really well. Fizz, fruits products and hydration- all three are growing.
Q. You are gradually shifting from fruit concentrate to pulp. So when will the fruit concentrate become zero?
It will be never be zero, there will something like a berry, which is not available in India. We will need to use fruit concentrate for that. Now, there may be a 5% demand for fruits that may not be available in India, so we will continue to use fruit concentrate for those. But broadly, we will move to sourcing fruits locally. In fact, we have become so confident that we have launched Indian fruit juices with Indian fruit- we have launched three flavours.
This story was originally published in Times of India (online edition)