Coca-Cola India has a new ambition – to become a complete beverage company. Which essentially means providing more choice to the consumer by offering newer beverages and many based on fruit and fruit juices. This has been inspired by the concept of the circular economy or a virtuous economic cycle. This initiative will create a spurt in the company’s local procurement of fruit and farm-level interventions, and will have a positive impact on the Indian horticulture ecosystem. The two key components of this project are, launching new and innovative products and sustainable sourcing.
Product innovation and taking them to market is handled by Asim Parekh VP, Fruit Circular Economy,
This way of functioning is a big shift and is rooted in the understanding that India is not exactly a homogenous country. Besides social and cultural diversity, there is economic classification. In addition, the modern consumer in big and small cities and even semi-urban areas wants personalisation of their products and services. Keeping the potential growth of the economy in mind, even seemingly small customer segments could be large value generators.
One such sustainable sourcing program is Unnati Mango. The program was started to increase crop yields, save water, bring in ‘Good Agricultural Practices’ and improve the livelihoods of mango farmers in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. Emboldened by the success of the program, the company has now extended this framework to other fruits and placed it under a strategic framework called the ‘Fruit Circular Economy.’ Under this program, orange sourcing and farming initiatives were launched in 2016 across the water stressed regions of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. It encouraged the adoption of newer varieties of orange that have 50% higher juice content.
Coca-Cola’s 2020 sustainability goals put sustainable sourcing of key agricultural ingredients as a top priority. Concerted efforts are being made by the company and nearly 250 bottling partners in more than 200 countries and territories to ensure this becomes a reality. The
This story was originally published in Economic Times