After pilot, Coca-Cola set for commercial launch of frozen fruit dessert

T Krishnakumar, President, India and Southwest Asia, Coca-Cola
After a successful pilot, Coca-Cola has decided to expand its frozen fruit dessert offering in major metros. This is part of the company's strategy to build a portfolio beyond carbonated drinks.

Coca-Cola India president T Krishnakumar said that the company planned to take the offering to the top five metros by this summer. The company has been testing this product in Bengaluru. Similarly, the company is also planning to come out with a few value-added dairy-related products, which are more ready-to-drink beverages, by the second half of 2018.

Though the product would come out from dispensers and be served in cups, the company does not wish to call it ice-cream and prefers to call it 'Frozen Fruit dessert', since it would not have dairy ingredients or no added sugar.

These will be made of locally sourced fruits. And these are not pure beverages. "We are creating a new segment," said Krishnakumar.

The company first started testing the market with whipped frozen fruit desserts in Australia more than two years ago, under the brand name Perfect Fruit.

In every city, the company is planning to install 30-40 dispensers and initially the investment on the machines will be made by Coca-Cola. India's ice-cream and frozen dessert market is projected to grow at an annual rate of 11 per cent between 2016 and 2021 to reach Rs 170 billion, according to a December 2016 study by market research firm Euromonitor International.

The company, which wants to address more mass market, is also planning to launch more local flavoured fruit beverages under its brand Minute Maid.

At present, pulpy Mosambi and Santra made from Indian fruit come under the Minute Maid brand and "our next step is to roll out a variety of fruit juices from Indian fruits". The company is planning to sell these products in Rs 10, Rs 20 and in large packs.

Speaking about the global beverage major's export business from India, Krishnakumar said Coca-Cola wanted to develop one brand from India to be a $1-billion one and was targeting ThumsUp to be a Billion Dollar brand in the next three years.

As part of the plan, the company has started exporting ThumsUp to neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives and other South Asian countries. "We will eventually look at other markets going forward", said Krishnakumar.

The company is also planning to start exporting RimZim. Export doesn't mean the end product, it includes formula, idea, brand and raw material, he clarified.

Speaking about investments, he said, over the next five years, the company and its parters have committed to investing around Rs 110 billion. Besides this, the company will do a normal capex of around Rs 5-6 billion.

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