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Coke, Bottlers to invest $70 m; Coke Vanilla launch in April

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Coke, Bottlers to invest $70 m; Coke Vanilla launch in April

Coca-Cola said on Friday it will be investing up to $70 million this year along with its bottlers in expanding capacity, while announcing a slew of new launches, including a new Coke variant called Coke Vanilla and two new variants in soft drink concentrate Sunfill.

“We, along with our bottlers, will invest up to $70 million this year to expand capacity, both at the front-end and back-end. This means increasing distribution outlets by 24 per cent, covering an additional 40,000 villages and expanding the bottling capacity,” vice-president Coca-Cola India Sunil Gupta said.

He also divulged the company’s plan to launch Coke Vanilla in India by early next month, with the company yet to decide on the price point and packaging of this product.

Mr Gupta said Coke Vanilla was expected to sell large volumes, since this product has single-handedly driven the company’s sales in the fiercely competitive North American market where carbonated soft drink sales were flat in 2003.

The company will invest up to $70 m this year to expand capacity, both at the front-end and the back-end

Also, coke has launched two new variants of soft drink concentrate Sunfill called Tarang and Anand.

However, Coke’s experience with other soft drink variants in the Indian market has been far from satisfactory. Its energy drink Shock, launched in 2002, has been “allowed to die a natural death”; masala variant Rimjhim has also been withdrawn.

Mr Gupta said Shock was priced at an “incorrect pricepoint... Indian consumers should not accept such a drink for Rs 25. Rimjhim was launched only in Gujarat but fared poorly there, so we did not extend the launch to the remaining parts of the country.”

However, he expressed optimism that Coke Vanilla will not meet a similar fate.

On Sunfill, he said Coke has priced Sunfill Anand at a mere Re 1 per sachet to keep up with its affordability strategy to drive volumes this summer.

Coke has already indicated it will launch iced tea and cold coffee through vending machines.


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