Coca Cola invests Sh2.6b in Kenya to diversify from soda

Coca Cola invests Sh2.6b in Kenya to diversify from soda
Brian Smith (left)- The Coca-Cola Company’s President for Europe, Middle East and Africa, discusses with one of the Coca-Cola distributors during a market visit in Nairobi.

Global beverage maker Coca Cola has announced plans to inject Sh2.6 billion into the Kenyan market to diversify its product range.

In the new strategy, the soft drinks maker plans to move away from concentrating purely on sodas and other carbonated drinks as customer tastes change.

The soft drinks market has become highly competitive with new entrants etching away market share from Coca Cola.

Coca Cola President for Europe, Middle East and Africa Brian Smith said the change in tact would include the introduction of more low and no sugar options and drinks in emerging categories.

“We no longer see ourselves as just a soda manufacturing company, the Coca-Cola Company has grown to be bigger than brand Coca-Cola,” Mr Smith said.

Soda sales have been dropping as health conscious consumers look for alternatives.

Bidco Africa has recently ventured into the juice market while local producer Kevian has expanded its Thika plant to boost production.

The Sh2.6 billion has so far been in invested on a new juice line used to produce the Minute Maid brand.

Apart from juice, Coca Cola is also the largest bottler of water in the country.

Further investments will include the manufacture of packaging material such as glass in Nairobi, Mombasa and Nyeri.

Coca Cola projects it will have invested Sh9.2 billion in the Kenyan market between 2016 and 2018.

Mr Smith, who is on a tour of the Kenyan facilities, said with changes in innovation and customer tastes, the firm, would continue striving to maintain its market leadership.

“In 2016, we embarked on a transformational journey, as the leader of the beverage industry that places our stakeholders and consumers firmly at the center of our business strategy. This is important if we have to grow responsibly,” he said.

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