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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The 50-bn-rupee soft drink industry is growing now at 6 to 7% annually.  In India, Coke and Pepsi have a combined market share of around 95% directly or through franchisees. Campa Cola has a 1% share, and the rest is divided among local players. Industry watchers say, fake products also account for a good share of the balance. There are about 110 soft drink producing units (60% being owned by Indian bottlers) in the country, employing about 125,000 people.  There are two distinct segments of the market, cola and non-cola drinks. The cola segment claims a share of 62%, while the non-cola segment includes soda, clear lime, cloudy lime and drinks with orange and mango flavours.

 The per capita consumption of soft drinks in India is around 5 to 6 bottles (same as Nepal's) compared to Pakistan's 17 bottles, Sri Lanka's 21, Thailand's 73, the Philippines 173 and Mexico 605. The industry contributes over Rs 12 bn to the exchequer and exports goods worth Rs 2 bn. It also supports growth of industries like glass, refrigeration, transportation, paper and sugar. The Department of Food Processing Industries had stipulated that 'contains-no-fruit-juice' labels be pasted on returnable glass bottles. About 85% of the soft drinks are currently sold in returnable bottles. There was a floating stock of about 1000 mn bottles valued at Rs 6 bn. If the industry were to abide by the new guidelines, it would have to invest in new bottles, resulting in a cost outgo of Rs 5 bn. Neither Coke nor Pepsi is in a position to invest such a large amount.

 Around 400,000 tonnes of raw material would be required to replace the existing stock of bottles.  Instead, the soft drink industry suggested that a seven-year moratorium be extended to the industry so that it can incorporate the change in a phased manner.  There is no such mandatory requirement anywhere in the world to specifically label the glass surface of returnable bottles. The government has decided to extend the date for replacing the bottles to end-march 2006. In the meantime, the producers have shifted substantially to the use of PET bottles.

 Soft and aerated drinks were considered products for the middle class and the affluent. That segregation is no more valid. Soft and aerated drinks are consumed by all except those who cannot afford to buy any drink. An NCAER study says that 91% soft drink sales are made to the lower, middle and upper middle classes.   The soft drink industry has been urging the government to categorise aerated waters (soft drinks) equitably with other consumer products of mass consumption and remove special excise duty.

The industry estimates that the beverage market should grow at twice the rate of GDP growth. The Indian market should have, therefore, grown by atleast 12%. However, it has been growing at a rate of about 6%. In contrast, the Chinese market grew by 16% a year, while the Russian market expanded at almost four times the rate of growth of the Indian market.


It may be recalled that Coca-Cola, the world's number one player, was present in India for a long time in collaboration with an Indian producer but was thrown out in the late 1970s. It reappeared in India following the economic liberalization era - but after its rival, world's number two, had already entered in a big way following a long and tough fight against the opposition from the domestic producers. When Coca-Cola re-entered, it installed a new milestone. It acquired the well flourishing India's top player, Parle. Since then it is basically a fight between the two American giants.  Others are playing a peripheral role, as adjuncts to the two MNCs.  World's third biggest player, Cadbury Schweppes, had also made an entry but was gobbled up by Coca-Cola. When Coca-Cola acquired Parle brands, it was, in fact, buying the bottling facilities, the marketing network, and the established consumer preference during the market build-up. The brands were a drag on the global brand.  Since Coca-Cola was not interested in brands (like Thumps Up), it did not promote them. The result, at least, in the short run was a loss of the market to the competitor. Coca-Cola decided to market more effectively the Parle brands. It had in its armoury Coke, Thumps Up, Limca and Fanta. The latest to enter market was Parle’s erstwhile Rimzim, alongside Portello, a black currant flavoured drink, very popular in Srilanka.

 Coca-Cola operates through 35 plants and 16 franchisees throughout the country, while PepsiCo has 20 plants, but it has 7 more franchisees at 23 to 16 of its rival. Coca-Cola claims a market share of 51%, while Pepsi has a share of 46%. The claims, however, remain disputed. The other smaller players like Pure Drinks Ltd claim the rest of the market. The shares of the two lead players are consolidated figures, which include the respective bottlers. Coca-Cola had approached the government for a five year extension for divesting 49% equity in its bottling subsidiary, Hindustan Coca-Cola Holdings. It had set up the marketing subsidiary as part of its strategy to integrate all its bottling operations, both company-owned and franchisee bottlers, apparently keeping in line with its global policy. All together, it had bought initially over 38 franchisee bottlers.

 Kandhari Beverages, coke bottlers for north have been eyeing to lift a stake in Coca-Cola India. Coca-Cola had filed an application to offload 49% stake of its bottling operations in favour of their Indian operators.  Besides Kandhari, three other bottlers, one each from Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Jammu, were lined up to invest in Hindustan Coca-Cola Holding. Kandhari has already invested Rs 300 mn in 1999 and 2000 to upgrade its capacity. The total investment by all the four was expected to be Rs 1000 mn. Both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo planned for the launch of lemon-flavored versions of their products.  Both have been expanding their non-carbonated drink line-ups, as consumers seem to be shifting away from carbonated soft drinks. PepsiCo is deliberating whether to come out with Pepsi Twist, a cola mixed with lemon. But while both companies have juice sports drinks, bottled water and other such drinks in their line-ups, neither coke nor Pepsi has launched a new national variety of a cola-flavoured carbonated soft drink in years.

 PepsiCo had achieved Rs 3 bn worth of exports, which include processed foods, basmati rice, guar gum and soft drinks concentrate.  PepsiCo completed the second phase of its expansion and with this expansion, PepsiCo was to explore the possibility of expanding the export of concentrates to more countries in addition to the exports to Russia and other South Asian countries.

Pepsi India has entered into a marketing tie up with Hindustan Lever to promote sales of soft drinks through Pepsi-HLL network of vending machines and fountains. The major soft drink brands in the Pepsi stable are Pepsi, 7UP, Mirinda, Tropicana and Acquafina.

 As a major strategic departure, both MNCs were expanding their brand range. Consequent to some diversifying moves, at present, the sales ratio of Coca-Cola between soft drinks and other beverages is 95.5. The company intended to change this to 80:20 in the next three years. Its juice brand, Maaza - acquired from Parle a few years ago - is being given a major thrust.  It has plans to go in for canned coffee, iced tea and purified categories under expansion schemes. It has already launched its bottled water brand, Kinley, in the Indian market. Besides, it is intending to acquire domestic brands in the non-carbonated beverages segment.

 The global deal between Coca-Cola and P&G to form a snacks and beverages joint venture company was reported to have slipped into rough weather. The P&G brand of potato wafer, Pringles, seemed to be faced with distribution problems in India. P&G had globally tied up with Coca-Cola to form a stand-alone juice and snacks company. The new firm is focused on developing and marketing new juices, juice based beverages and snacks on a global basis. The Sharjah-based Allied Beverages was pushing its Ahlan brand in India, having entered the market in mid-2000. Its target was carbonated drinks market in PET bottles. Its plans were   to launch a PET bottle in the popular 300 ml category. Ahlan expected to gain a 12% share of the total PET bottle market in northern India.  Of the total market, PET bottle segment is approximately 12%.  Presently, Allied Beverages has a manufacturing unit at Dharuhera in Haryana. The product range includes carbonated drinks - cola, orange, lemon and soda in three pack sizes - 500 ml, 1500 ml and 2000 ml.  Allied Beverages sells non-carbonated drinks in 200 ml foodgrade cups priced at Rs 7 in its portfolio, available in four different flavours. The company's future plans include pulp-based fruit drinks in flavours, which will be available in 200 ml non-returnable glass bottles.

 IFB Agro Industries has handed over the distribution rights of Cadbury Schweppes in favour of Coco-Cola India, following the global takeover of Schweppes beverages by Coke. The company still retains the bottling rights for the beverages.

 It was noticed for the first time during the summer of 2004 that soft drink companies were registering a slower growth in the sale of bottled water at 20% compared to 35% in case of drinks.




Aerated Soft Drinks


Demand: Past & Future

Year                                                               mn cases

2000-01                                                     243

2001-02                                                     262

2002-03                                                     279

2003-04                                                     291

2004-05                                                     310

2005-06                                                     330

2006-07                                                     359

2007-08                                                     373

2008-09                                                     388

2009-10                                                     403

2014-15                                                     479


Lead Players & Alliances

Company                                                                                Share (%)

Aradhana                                                                                34

Varun Beverages                                                                  15

Devyani Beverages                                                              9

Kandhari Beverages                                                            7

Ludhiana Beverages                                                           7

Sri Sarvarya Sugars                                                            6

Pearl Drinks                                                                           5

Pearl Beverages                                                                    6


Market Growth Rates

2001-02 - 2006-07                                                                 6.5%

2004-05 - 2009-10                                                                 5.4%

2009-10 - 2014-15                                                                 3.5%

 Sensitivity Coefficient                                                          5.2%




Market Segmentation

Segment                                                                                            Share (%)

North                                                                                           24

East                                                                                              18

West                                                                                             32

South                                                                                          26

Rural                                                                                           30

Urban                                                                                          70


Market Structure


Product Variation

Company                                                                           Share (%)

Cola Drinks:                                                                      

Thums Up                                                                         29

Coca Cola                                                                          25

Pepsi                                                                                   18

Non Cola Drinks:                                                            

Gold Spot                                                                          2

Fanta                                                                                  9

Mirinda                                                                              8

Limca                                                                                  9

Overall Colas                                                                   62


Cloudy                                                                               7

Clear                                                                                   3

Orange                                                                               17

Mango                                                                                3

Soda                                                                                    8

Source: Ministry of Food Processing Industries

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