Coca-Cola India is taking an ambitious gamble. It is launching a completely new category in its portfolio by introducing frozen fruits under the brand “Minute Maid Perfect Fruit.” India will be the second market in which the company will be introducing the new product after Australia and if the product works, the country could become its largest market. Coke is also creating a new category of beverage-plus products, and is considering launching “Frozen Fanta” and “Frozen Coke” in the country. The two products are available in many markets across the world and are sold through many well known outlets such as McDonalds. The products, say experts, are similar to slush drinks and will need machines to dispense them. Speaking on the new plan, T Krishnakumar, President-India and South West Asia, Coca-Cola India said, “We have worked closely with our Australian bottler which has the IP for frozen fruits and will make it in India by procuring fresh fruits from Indian farmers. We will start with mango and litchi to begin with.” The new product is made of fruits and does not contain any added sugar or diary additives, which distinguishes it from frozen desserts. It will be dispensed through machines much like a softy cone. The product will clearly target customers who consume ice creams and frozen desserts, by providing them with a new and healthier alternative. The product, which is being test-marketed in Bangalore, will be launched in the first quarter of next year in 20-25 outlets in each of 10 cities initially. The outlets will be located in multiplexes, movie halls, colleges to enable the product to target the adult youth segment.
If it clicks, the product will be taken across the country. While the commercial price has still not been fixed, the company is selling the product in the test marketing stage at Rs 50 to Rs 100 a cup.Kumar also said that as part of Coke's strategy to bring in more products under the beverage-plus category, the company is also considering launching “Frozen Fanta” and “Frozen Coke” in the market. Coke has been pushing juices as a category in a big way and one of its key successes last quarter was the “Minute Maid Mosambi”. The beverage has already grabbed about one per cent market share in the branded juices market within 75 days of its launch in the July-September quarter. About 450 million cases of branded juices are sold in the Indian market every year. Coke is also expanding its juice distribution base, which currently extends to about half of its total 2.6 million outlets. It is adding about 50,000 outlets for selling juices every month, and will be spending over Rs 5,000 crore over the next five years to buy fresh fruits from the market and another Rs 6,000 crore to build infrastructure to support farmers. Coke India has seen its volumes go up by 6 per cent in the third quarter over the previous year and revenues rise by 16 per cent. It has been able to do so by introducing new smaller packaging sizes to expand the market. These include Mazaa Refresh, a 150-ml juice pack for Rs 10, a 250-ml Coke PET bottle for Rs 18, essentially to support sales of returnable sparkling beverages and a 180-ml pop can for Rs 25.