Karachi: Coca-Cola is the leading beverage brand of the world now expanding its business in Pakistan after it received a tremendous response from the customers who have started believing in its theme “Eat, Drink and Live” ( Khale Pile Jile) and adopting a habit of healthy and tasteful soft drinks in their lifestyle.
Coca-Cola’s Fahad Qadir who is a Director Public Affairs & Communications for Pakistan & Afghanistan Region explained the company’s businesses, brands’ popularity and achievement in an interview with The News Tribe, the largest independent and bilingual news website in Pakistan.
A significant number of people love soft drinks in their lives particularly at lunch, dinner and casual gathering being an indispensible part of their diet. The trend was not so popular in past as it is presently growing in the country at rapid pace.
The Coca-Cola Company’s flagship soft drink brand is of course “Coca-Cola”, and a number of other brands also being marketed in Pakistan. These include Diet Coke, Sprite, Sprite Zero, Fanta and Minute Maid, all of which are quite popular in the country.
Soft drinks, offering fast relief from thirst. are becoming a regular part of daily diet and people’s intake of soft drinks is particularly increasing at events and festivals as an essential item on the menu.
Thus the growth in consumption has been strong in Pakistan over a period of time, I believe, with the changing lifestyle and food intake, which interestingly enough is often a combination of international and local dishes.
The soft drinks consumption reaches a high level during Ramadan and the warm season, particularly in the main metropolis, but intake is also surging in smaller cities and even in villages.
Pakistan is a high potential country for a soft drinks company no doubt. Not only it is the 6th most populous country in the world, the consumption of soft drinks per head is still comparatively low in our society; but it is increasing all the time.
Coca-Cola has aggressive and big plans for the Pakistan market, which as I mentioned has a high population and hence high potential for beverage business.
The company previously invested $250 million in the period 2005-2010. Now it has planned to invest another $280 million by 2013 for establishing greenfield projects; these being aimed at increasing the production of different brands and expand our overall beverages portfolio.
The company is streamlining its marketing and sales channels to ensure its brands are available to the maximum number of people across the country. The new strategy is focused on this and on introducing new soft drink brands, juices and mineral water in the market. The variety of the brands will definitely provide choices to customers according to their taste preference, occasion and even mood.
A number of new marketing and sales channels will be added to the country’s network, which will definitely boost the supplies and availability of products at a fast pace.
This spending will translate into large-scale impact on our business, and particularly on our market share, which will go up with the growing demand of our products in Pakistan.
The investment is substantial, particularly in the beverage industry of the country. Its impact will be enormous, both directly and indirectly. The reason behind this spending is to meet the needs of our customers which we believe are currently under-served.
As the company enhances its production, it will definitely also enhance its market share in the country. Besides boosting the business volume of about 300 allied industries dependent on the beverages industry, giving these allied industries long-term growth opportunities.
Coca-Cola owns six bottling plants presently, giving employment to about 3,700 permanent and 2,200 temporary staff. The indirect employment generated is substantial and numbers more than 51,000 in distribution channels and allied industries.
Also, with the growth of our business, the revenues of the government will increase manifold, as even today the beverages industry share stands at approx. 1.8 percent in the overall GDP, and Coca-Cola is one of the leading market players of the industry.
The company is currently contributing handsomely to the national exchequer, as it stands amongst one of the highest taxpayers of the country.