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Coca Cola stakes Sh5 billion to reclaim market stature

By | April 13th 2012

By Macharia Kamau

Beverage manufacturer Coca Cola East Africa has moved to entrench its position in the Kenya market with a new juice manufacturing plant in Mombasa and launch of a new variant of its Minute Maid Juice.

The plant operated by Coast Bottlers is part of Sh5 billion investments that the firm plans to inject in its Kenyan operation over two years that began in April last year.

The move is intended to ward off growing competition eating into its non-alcoholic beverages market share.

The Kenyan market is estimated to be worth Sh7.2 billion and is growing fast, with a large population of young people – who form a key market for manufacturers of fast moving consumer goods – demanding diverse and innovative products away from the traditional soda, tea and basic juices.

Coca Cola has been manufacturing its Minute Maid brand of juices using a subsidiary firm Beverage Services Kenya. Other than the Juices and soda, Coca Cola also sells tea and coffee branded Chaywa.

Peter Njonjo, the general manager Coca Cola East Africa said the plant at Coast Bottlers was operationalised in January this year and has been producing the Minute Maid Pulpy Orange distributed in Nairobi and Mombasa.

The product launched in Nairobi yesterday will retail in a 250-millilitre returnable glass bottle for Sh35.

"There are plans to expand distribution to the rest of the country by end of this year," he said during the launch yesterday. He said the firm was eyeing to position in the rapidly growing juice market segment in the country.

Coca Cola is facing stiff competition in both its soda and juice products with companies such as Kevian –which manufacturers Pick and Peel and Afia juice brands – adopting a similar backward integration move

Recently, Pepsi also announced a planned comeback to Kenya and is already importing its products into the Kenyan market.

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