To accelerate the diversification of the portfolio and reduce dependency on sugary carbonated beverages, Coca-Cola India has set up an incubator team comprising five people, who are overseeing the development of “more serious” products at a blistering pace.
For instance, the beverage company launched two low-priced products on Thursday to cater to a wider consumer base, which took around 12 weeks to launch from the time they were conceived. In normal circumstances, it takes around six-to-12 months or more for the beverage company to conceive and to roll out a product.
“These five individuals are wired to our R&D labs in India,” said T Krishnakumar, president of Coca-Cola’s India and Southwest Asia business. “Earlier, we were not well-positioned with our portfolio to address the larger part of the Indian population.” The company which sells several “fun” beverages, including Coke, Thums Up and Maaza, introduced two nutrition-based products such as Aquarius Glucocharge and Minute Maid Vitingo. The latter will be sold in powder form in sachets costing Rs 5.
Krishnakumar, who had taken the reins of Coca-Cola at a time when the company was facing slowing sales in the country, said agility needs to be built into the DNA of the beverage maker for it to be able to adapt quickly to changing consumer preferences.
Although Krishnakumar said the split between sugary fizzy drinks and healthier beverages in the company has not changed significantly from the time he took over in April last year, he would push for robust double-digit growth for the company’s core products, as well as drive diversification of the entire portfolio. “We have been actively focusing on our strategy to offer consumers a wide variety of choices as per their preferences and going ahead, incubating new products and scaling it up through our system would be key to our success,” he said.