Coca- Cola has decided to go slow on Diet Coke as the company is finding it economically unviable to aggressively push the product in the health segment. Diet Coke, the sugar-free cola brand for health freaks has so far received a lukewarm response in India capturing just 0.7 per cent of the carbonated beverage market.
Launched in mid-1999 with great fanfare, the company agrees that even after two years of the launch, the diet-cola market in India has not even touched 1 per cent of the carbonated beverage market.
The other disadvantage is that the product has a low shelf life, it does not last beyond a month. Hence any inventory pile-up results in wastage. Earlier, the company was aggressively pushing the brand in 23 cities but is now concentrating just in the four metros, and a few other large cities. The company claims that it has a market share of 65 per cent in the diet cola market in India.
Coca-Cola India expects to break even this year after an 8-year stint in the country and has targeted a turnover of Rs 4,000 crore this year. The US multinational returned to India in October 1993, after a gap of 16 years.
The company has invested over Rs 4,000 crore in the country since its return and had said earlier that regionalisation of operations, comprehensive marketing strategies and a one-time absorption of losses worth $400 million last year were the main reasons for expecting a break even this year.
Coca-Cola has increased unit case volume by 14 per cent in 2000 over that of the previous year and cornered 58.4 per cent market share in sales in the same period.