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Coca-Cola expands beverage portfolio

In view of the fast changing consumer preferences, the Coca-Cola Company plans to introduce fruit-based and other healthier drinks to cut reliance on its flagship Coke and that the strategy for the beverage giant will propel India to one of its top three markets. “The company needs to be bigger than brand Coca-Cola,“ said chief executive officer James Quincey in Mumbai on Thursday. “While the brand will always be the heart and soul, the company needs to be much bigger, which means participating in many categories that consumers want to drink.“ The 130-year-old company is trying to speed up the development of healthier alternatives as consumers shift from fizzy drinks to low and no-sugar options and drinks in emerging categories. The share of sparkling beverages -non-alcoholic carbonated drinks -in Coca-Cola’s global sales narrowed to about 70% from 90% a decade ago as it broadened the portfolio with healthier alternatives. In markets such as Japan, the sparkling business is a minority segment and a substantial chunk of sales comes from functional beverages including tea, coffee and water. Coca-Cola’s attempts in India have paid off in segments such as mango drinks, where it controls half the market with sales of over `5,000 crore from Maaza.More recently, the maker of Thums Up and Sprite entered dairy and functional beverages. As part of its global move to focus on marketing and brand building, the company has been looking to sell capital-intensive bottling operations, although its strategy for India is different. “We have got a lot of investments in the bottling operations in India and we are very happy with them and that’s going to continue. Until there’s some logic about how something different would make it even better, we are going to continue investing and are committed to the Indian business.”

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