Out Cold -- Cola Woes

Over the last three years, things have turned a little sluggish for cola companies

After studying law I vectored towards journalism by accident and it's the only job I've done since. It's a job that has taken me on a private jet to Jaisalmer - where I wrote India's first feature on fractional ownership of business jets - to the badlands of west UP where India's sugar economy is inextricably now tied to politics. I'm a big fan of new business models and crafty entrepreneurs. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of those in Asia at the moment.

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Infographic: Smaeer Pawar

With Indians consuming only 11 bottles of Coke per year compared to 675 in Mexico, cola companies know there is huge room to grow. Growth over the last decade hasn’t disappointed; but over the last three years, things have turned a little sluggish. In 2009, the carbonated soft drink market grew at 21 percent. Industry watchers say that this was primarily because more people took to consuming beverages at home during the slowdown. Over the next year, growth fell to 14 percent before recovering to 17 percent last year.

Move over to the juices category and the contrast is even starker.

In 2009, the segment grew by a whopping 33 percent, aided primarily by new launches and promotions. Over the next two years growth was down to 27 percent and 17 percent respectively.

(This story appears in the 16 March, 2012 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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