KENYA – Soft drink manufacturer, Coca-Cola has unveiled plans to expand its product portfolio in Kenya with a key focus on an increasingly health-conscious consumer base even as it expects warmer weather to drive sales this year.

Coca-Cola company regional general manager, Ahmed Rady, said that it was lining up a number of new drinks to be gradually rolled out in the country’s market in response to the changing consumer needs.

“We are trying as much as possible to give consumers a variety based on what we hear every day from researchers, from sitting with them, observing what they are doing and their shopping behaviours,” he said.

The Nairobi-based Coca-Cola Central East and West Africa Ltd has been grappling with a global trend that has seen customers shifting into more health conscious consumption of sugar reduced drinks.

“You can expect a lot of new products coming from Coke because consumers are asking for more.

The world has changed and there must be a customisation.

The trend where everybody is going to conform and drink the same thing is gone,” said Ahmed.

This marks its commitment into diversifying its production lines with the most recent introduction of tea- and coffee-flavoured drinks, sports drinks and smoothies

“Kenya and indeed Africa is in the growth phase. We have seen the middle class grow, and with this growth customers begin to ask for diverse range of products, which from a Coca-Cola perspective is our area of strength,” said the company earlier.

The multinational in May last year opened a US$ 68.81million juice processing plant in Nairobi with a production capacity of 28,000 bottles per hour using a hot-fill technology in line with its strategy to become a full beverage company.

The manufacturer of soda, such as Coca-Cola, Fanta, Krest and Sprite, water (Dasani & Keringet) and juices (Minute Maid) has continued to invest greatly in consumer health conscious products.