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Coke plans big splash in health, wellness space

13-December-2005
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Coke plans big splash in health, wellness space

Soft drink maker, Coca-Cola, wants to transform itself into a total beverage company in India as it plans to launch a slew of health and wellness drink brands in the country.

Coke was not averse to acquiring companies which are in the health and wellness beverage space in India as it explores more avenues to grow its sales in the country, Dr Terence Fealey, the Vice-President for non-carbonated beverages' development and global platform integration, told Business Line.

"Some years from now, the share between carbonated drinks and non-carbonated drinks could be equal. We want to become a total beverage company," Dr Fealey said.

He said Coca-Cola is planning to invest more into research in India. "We want to tap the enormous talent pool which exists here to come out with more non-carbonated drinks," he said.

India plans

In India, Coca-Cola is expected to introduce drinks which will have ayurvedic benefits, sports drinks, bottled water which will have more minerals, more isotonics with herbal taste and more milk-based drinks.

Its coffee-flavoured Blak drink which is being introduced in the US and France as an energy drink might soon find its way into India as well, Dr Fealey said.

Coke's non-carbonated drink, Maaza, is now being introduced in paper foil packages at lower price formats. Its coffee drink, Georgia, will be exported to West Asia and other Asian countries with the coffee beans being sourced from India.

"India could become the biggest supplier of natural products for us," Dr Fealey said.

He said currently Coca-Cola has around 80 brands of non-carbonated drinks globally and some of them would be introduced in India soon.

At present, it has three main non-carbonated drinks in the country, which include, Maaza, Kinley bottled water and Georgia coffee. "We might have double this number in non-carbonated drinks down the road," Dr Fealey said.

"We want to go on the offensive in introducing more value-added benefits through beverages based on consumer insights," he said.

Even as we grow our core brands in the carbonated drink category, we want to broaden our product line to bring functional benefits to our customers, he said.

Dr Fealey said one of the reasons for Coca-Cola to strengthen and expand its presence in the non-carbonated drink category is because more and more health care companies are introducing branded health drinks and even the non-traditional business is getting into such drinks.

In the US, which is Coke's traditional market, customers are moving away from carbonated drink, according to media reports.

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