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Sunfill on backburner, Vanilla Coke moves slowly

24-November-2004
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Sunfill on backburner, Vanilla Coke moves slowly

Coca-Cola India (CCI) has put its powdered soft drink concentrate brand Sunfill on the backburner. Conceding that the brand has ‘not done well’, CCI president and CEO Sanjiv Gupta told FE that the brand was a ‘non-strategic category’ for the company.

“We haven’t had time to invest in the brand and its distribution,” Mr Gupta said. When asked whether the company had decided to withdraw from the category, Mr Gupta said: ‘‘As of now it’s status quo.”

Launched first in 2001 with an aim to tap the large untapped beverage market, Sunfill was, however, relaunched in sachets at reduced prices early this year.

The brand obviously found it tough to fight it out in a highly price-sensitive Rs 180 crore soft drinks concentrate market where Rasna is the undisputed market leader with a market share of 93.5% while Coke’s Sunfill has 4.5%.

Coke was procuring the product from a contract manufacturer based in Bhopal, and was distributing it through a third party distribution network.

Sunfill was initially launched in a 25gm sachet and a multi-serve pillow pouch of 200gm priced at Rs 2 and Rs 15, respectively. In its new avatar, it was launched as Sunfill Anand, priced at 50 paise a glass and targeted at SEC C, D, E and rural India. Additionally, there was Sunfill Tarang targeted at housewives in the high-end grocery segment, available in a multi-serve pack which makes 18 glasses at Rs 15.

Sunfill was developed locally based on local consumer preferences. The brand is, however, also present in other countries, either in the form of a fruit juice-based drink, or in the powdered concentrate form in countries like Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The soft drinks major is also expecting slow growth from Coke variant Vanilla Coke which was launched early this year with much fanfare including a highblitz ad campaign featuring filmstar Vivek Oberoi.

“Vanilla Coke is a variant and was launched to prop up the Coke brand,” Mr Gupta said, adding that from its current 15% market share, Vanilla Coke should be able to retain about 7% to 10% in the current year.

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