Consumer Behaviour- Soft Drink Industry

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Consumer behavior

Soft drink – Thums Up
The soft drink industry in India is one of the most competitive with many international and domestic players operating in the market. Initially domestic players like Parle group dominated the Indian soft drink market with brands like Thums up, Limca, Goldspot etc. However with the re-entry of MNC players like Pepsi in 1991 and Coca-Cola in 1993, the market took a decisive shift in favour of these MNCs and over the years Coca-Cola and Pepsi have become the prominent players in the market. Soft drinks can be principally classified into carbonated and non-carbonated. Carbonated drinks include cola, lemon and orange flavors while non carbonated drinks principally comprise of mango flavor. The carbonated cola products constitute 60% of the soft drink market and three prominent brands in this category are Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Thums up. Thums up was a brand from Parle until Coca-Cola bought it in 1993 and tried to kill it to push its own brand. But the loyal customers of Thums up never let it die and the brand still is the leading brand in the Indian soft drink market. Company profile: The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company. The company’s best known product Coca-Cola was invented by John Stith Pemberton in 1886. The Coca-Cola formula and brand was bought in 1889 by Asa Candler who incorporated the Coca-Cola Company in 1892. Coca-Cola currently offers nearly 400 brands in over 200 countries or territories and serves 1.5 billion servings each day. The Coca-Cola Company is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Its current chairman and CEO is Muhtar Kent. Coca-Cola was the leading soft drink brand in India until 1977 when it left rather than reveal its formula to the government and reduce its equity stake as required under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) which governed the operations of foreign companies in India. After a 16-year absence, Coca-Cola returned to India in 1993, cementing its presence with a deal that gave Coca-Cola ownership of the nation's top soft-drink brands and bottling network. Coke’s acquisition of local popular Indian brands including Thums Up (the most trusted brand in India), Limca, Maaza, Citra and Gold Spot provided not only physical manufacturing, bottling, and distribution assets but also strong consumer preference. This combination of local and global brands enabled Coca-Cola to exploit the benefits of global branding and global trends in tastes while also tapping into traditional domestic markets. From 1993 to 2003, Coca-Cola invested more than US$1 billion in India, making it one of the country’s top international investors. By 2003, Coca-Cola India had won the prestigious Woodruf Cup from among 22 divisions of the Company based on three broad parameters of volume, profitability, and quality. Coca-Cola India achieved 39% volume growth in 2002 while the industry grew 23% nationally and the Company reached breakeven profitability in the region for the first time. Encouraged by its 2002 performance, Coca-Cola India announced plans to double its capacity at an investment of $125 million (Rs. 750 crore) between September 2002 and March 2003.

Coca-Cola India produced its beverages with 7,000 local employees at its twenty-seven wholly-owned bottling operations supplemented by seventeen franchisee-owned bottling operations and a network of twenty-nine contract-packers to manufacture a range of products for the company. The complete manufacturing process had a documented quality control and assurance program including over 400 tests performed throughout the process.

The complexity of the consumer soft drink market demanded a distribution process to support 700,000 retail outlets serviced by a fleet that includes 10-ton trucks, open-bay three wheelers, and trademarked tricycles and pushcarts that were used to navigate the narrow alleyways of the cities. In addition to its own employees, Coke...
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