By CONRAD ONYANGO
Coca Cola Kenya has said its new cold fill juice line at coastal bottlers in Mombasa is operational setting a new era in production of fresh juice in Kenya.
The plant is part of the company’s two year expansion plan unveiled early last year, estimated at Sh 5billion.
The juice line plant will facilitate the firm to diversify its product offering range in juice drink brands.
Speaking when launching a new non alcoholic soft drink product yesterday, the firm’s marketing director in Kenya, Catherine Mudachi, said the investment puts them at a competitive edge in transforming the company into a leader in the Non Alcoholic Ready to Drink (NARD)beverages market.
“Our juice business is a strategic priority second only to the growth of the soft drinks business, we see the new product being our key revenue generator in future,” said Mudachi.
The Company’s ready to drink juice and juice drink volume recorded an annual growth rate of more than 10percent over the five year period that ended in 2010.
“We have more than doubled our juice business in the decade ending in 2010,We hope to replicate this success in Kenya and across other African markets where we expect to roll out the product over the coming months.” added Mudachi.
The new product, Minute Maid Pulpy Orange adds to the long range of juice brands by the company including Minute Maid, Simply, Hi-C, Dobriy, Del Valle, Cappy and Maaza.
The new product has real orange fruit juice blended with real orange pulp bits and is targeted at family households especially after meal time.
“It’s like drinking a real Orange fruit in a bottle. The superior proposition of this product is further reinforced by the unique iconic Proprietary Minute Maid Pulpy Bottle which is multi-textured and shaped like an orange at the top,” explained Mudachi.
But she allayed fears of inadequate supply of orange fruits for the products, affirming that they will continue working with small scale farmers to ensure constant supply of raw materials.
“ In order to continue on this path, we see backward integration as critical to sustainable sourcing of raw material thus our partnership with small scale farmers”. She said.
She revealed that already the company is involved in backward integration programme where it is working with 54000 small scale farmers to grow mango and passion fruits.
“Our strategy is to continue diversifying our offering of juices and juice drinks to capture this growth segment as consumers seek more choice,” said Mudachi.