Coke bets on Thumbs Up globally; sees India among top 5 markets


Kolkata: Beverage major Coca-Cola on Saturday said it is planning to take the home-grown carbonated cola brand Thums Up to South Asia before launching it globally and is hoping India to emerge as its fifth largest market soon.

“We are all set to take Thums Up brand to South Asia, possibly by March 2018,” Coca-Cola India and South West Asia president T Krishnakumar said. Currently, Thums up is available in a small way in the Middle East catering to the Indian diaspora. The company said Thums Up will be also launched in markets like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

Thums Up is also the first Indian brand that will become a USD 1 billion (approx. Rs 64,000 crore) brand, much before the targeted timeline of 2020, company officials said. Thums Up is a 40-year-old brand which is the US beverage major for the past 26 years. In 1993, Coca-Cola bought Thums Up from Parle Bisleri Ltd. Coca-Cola is also hopeful about another home-grown mango drink Maaza to turn into a billion-dollar brand by 2023.

As part of the journey, it has launched ‘Maaza Gold’. It has also taken ‘RimZim’ (sparkling drink) to Bangladesh, said Krishnakumar. Coca-Cola has 15-20 brands, and with variants, the number is close to 40 in India. Globally, Coca-Cola has several billion Dollar brands including Coca-Cola, Fanta and Georgia. Despite reports of stagnation in carbonated drink market in India and hiccups in 2016 and 2017 following demonetisation, Coca-Cola India is hoping to surpass Japan in size from the sixth position now and aiming to emerge as the third-largest market over the next few years, officials said.

“India will soon become a fifth-largest market for Coca-Cola surpassing Japan,” Coca-Cola Company president Asia Pacific Group John Murphy said. Coca-Cola India is also moving ahead with a few new initiatives. The company is ramping up its existing portfolio of juices made from fruits that have been locally grown in various regions of the country.

‚ÄúThis year, priority will be given to accelerating our juice portfolio,” Murphy said. Coca-Cola India is creating a new category of ‘frozen dessert’ under the brand name ‘Minute Maid Perfect Fruit’ due to be launched this summer.(PTI)

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