INDIA – Global soft drinks major Coca-Cola Company said it drove 2.5 billion transactions in India at affordable price points through the expansion of returnable glass bottles and single-serve PET packages in the nine months of 2022.

The company noted that its lemon and lime-flavored soft drink Sprite has become a billion-dollar brand in the Indian market.

In August, the beverage giant stated that Sprite was the biggest contributor to the overall volume-led growth for Coca-Cola India in the first half of the year.

 The lime and lemon-based soft drink brand also have the highest household penetration in the company’s India portfolio.

The recorded “strong” volume growth in its India business in the third quarter of 2022 was on the back of its sparkling soft drinks portfolio and fruit drink brand Maaza.

Coca-Cola Company Chairman and CEO James Quincey said, “Trademark Coke delivered strong growth through effective execution and occasion-based marketing. We drove 2.5 billion transactions in India at affordable price points through the expansion of returnable glass bottles and single-serve PET packages.

“Sprite has grown to become a billion-dollar brand in the market, driven by the success of locally adapted, occasion-based global marketing campaigns and screen time.”

He noted that the Indian business, which covers the fifth-largest market for Coca-Cola globally, is ‘really powering forward” and the company will continue to “invest strongly” in the country.

Growth in developed markets was led by Western Europe, Mexico, and the United States, while growth in developing and emerging markets was led by India, China, and Brazil.

Its sparkling soft drinks grew by 3 percent, “primarily led by India, Mexico, and China. Nutrition, juice, dairy, and plant-based beverages also grew, led by Minute Maid Pulpy in China, Maaza in India, and fair life in the US market.

In the Asia Pacific market, which includes India, Coca-Cola’s unit case volume expanded by 9 percent, driven by strong growth in India and China. Growth was led by sparkling soft drinks and hydration.

Overall, the company’s unit case volume grew 4%, with broad-based growth across most operating segments driven by strength in away-from-home channels and ongoing investments in the marketplace.

Earlier in January this year, Coca-Cola had also said its Indian soft drink brand Thums Up had become a billion-dollar brand in 2021.

To maintain the momentum during the non-summer months as well, Coca-Cola India has a strong emphasis on rural areas of the second-populous country in the world due to electrification and rising smartphone usage.

The beverage company has been strategically concentrating on shifting distribution through the general trade channel to expand its distribution network far more quickly than before the pandemic.

Sundeep Bajoria, Vice-President of India Franchise said that the products are now available at more than four million stores compared to about 2.7 million stores in pre-pandemic times.

He also noted Kirana stores have been one of the biggest contributors to this growth and the company will continue to upgrade its capabilities in the form of optimal cooling solutions to sell beverages and help them capture new profit pools.

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