Coca-Cola and Pepsi is expected to meet and discuss the adverse impacts of the discount schemes and price hikes on the soft drinks industry.
The strategy for this year is: "No price hike. Less discounts. Less emphasis on institutional accounts like hotels, restaurants, and clubs... And a push for the 200 ml bottles across the country." The strategy for the smaller packs is to increase per capita consumption of sodas.
According to industry sources, price hikes on soft drinks may not be possible in 2002 as inflation is expected to be only 2-3 per cent.
Both the players are hoping that the soft drinks industry which is burdened with highest levels of taxes will get relief through a slash of excise duty, VAT and state sales tax. This is expected to stimulate demand for soft drinks.
This year Pepsi is banking on as many as 15 product launches to fill its coffers while Coke is relying more on its beverages (tea, coffee, juices) and of course water to bring in the moolah.
With health gaining importance among the urban and semi-urban Indians, it’s almost become a lifestyle issue to consume branded water, juices and energy drinks.
Coke has also lined up tea and coffee and is expected to make its way into the market through vending machines. The idea is to replicate the hot tea shops found across the country. The company has not yet disclosed the brand names.