Coca-Cola has begun hunting for "ethnic drinks" or traditional beverages of India to bolster its offerings.
With consumption of sugary sodas drying up, Coca-Cola is introducing new flavours such as raw mangoes and buttermilk to remain true to its tagline 'Open Happiness'.
To cater to the Indian market, Coke will bring flavours inspired by grandma's kitchens into its red-capped bottles fused with local spices and fruits. The company has begun hunting for these "ethnic drinks" or traditional beverages, as per a report by Bloomberg.
According to data by Technopak Advisors, a New Delhi-based consultancy, demand for these drinks has gone up 32 percent over the past three years. This is three times the pace at which soda drinks like Coke are moving. The aerated and soft drinks production volume in India fell from 3,236 million litres in 2015 to 2,644.56 million liters in the country during fiscal year 2017, according to a CARE Ratings report.
"You have 29 states, which are virtually 29 countries. People speak different languages, have different food and beverage habits, have different motivations for consuming food and beverages," said T Krishnakumar, Chief Executive Officer of Coke's business in India and Southwest Asia.
It was the smaller beverage companies that realised the demand of packaged drinks with traditional flavours like jaljeera (cumin-flavoured water) and aam panna (raw mango drink). Bengaluru-based Hector Beverages, Mumbai's Xotic Frujus and Rajasthan’s Jayanti Group are way ahead of Coke in the game.
As the summer season kicks off, Coca-Cola's aam panna will be available in stores across India. The company will soon launch its carbonated version of jaljeera. By 2020, the beverage maker will get into dairy products like spiced buttermilk and yogurt-based drinks in India.Competition has driven Coca-Cola to diversify its product range across the world. In China, it launched juice-flavoured milk, while it launched shochu highballs in Japan.