Monday, October 29, 2012


Innovation is the drive engine for developing new business enterprises and large food manufacturing companies are in the forefront in this creative activity. No wonder in a country like the US or for that matter in Europe, there are thousands of new products launched every year to entice new customers and expanding the existing consumer base. It is another matter that a large proportion of the new entrants in the market do not last for long, falling on the way side because of fierce competition. Invariably those players with long term vision and deep pockets are able to survive eventually. Recent move by one of the international beverage giants to launch a new product variant in its product portfolio provides interesting reading. Transformation of reusable bottle based beverage industry into disposable containers based one happened because of consumer demand for more convenience and cost reduction wanted by the industry to some extent. Will any consumer accept a concentrate containing the flavors of established beverages for use at home for making his own drinks? Here is the report highlighting this new development. 

"Although there are no set plans yet, Roddey says the next logical category for liquid drops would be tea. That's because drinks with higher sugar content are harder to turn into a liquid concentrate. The Coca-Cola Co. isn't the firstto come out with flavor drops. The category was pioneered by Kraft Food Inc.'s MiO, which was introduced in March of last year and has quickly spawned copycats, including by supermarkets that sell store-brand versions. The drops are popular because they come in small, portable containers that can be easily tucked into a purse or even back pocket. And unlike powdered drink packets, people can decide how much or little they want to squirt into their water. A small bottle can also have more than two dozen servings, meaning people save money they'd spend on bottled teas or enhanced waters. As with Kraft's MiO drinks, Dasani Drops use artificial sweeteners and have zero calories. That could be a concern for consumers who don't like artificial sweeteners, which often have a strong aftertaste. Now Coca-Cola is preparing to leverage its scale to stake a claim in the category. Roddey says the plan is to make Dasani Drops available wherever its Dasani bottled water is sold, including on supermarket shelves, in checkout aisles or in the refrigerated sections in convenience stores. "We're looking to make this as broad as we can," he said. Dasani Drops, which will cost about $4, will start hitting shelves in early October. The company is starting with four flavors, but is already planning to introduce additional flavors next year. Each bottle has about 32 servings. Without mentioning Kraft's MiO by name, Roddey said Coca-Cola saw the early success other brands had and realized the category had huge potential.Kraft has said that MiO sales through the first half of the year have more than doubled to more than $100 million. The name means "mine" in Italian, suggesting users can make drinks however they like".

In India it was a small domestic player who started mini packets that can be used to make flavored drinks at home and because of enormous cost advantage this product established itself with a brand image of its own. What is not possible is to get the same feeling of consuming a fizz drink as available in the market unless one has the soda making gadget at home. Probably the new flavor drops being launched may work in India because many people do consume still beverages based on different flavors and fruit pulps. Already powder based flavor bases are available in the US market for making different flavored still- beverages at home and how far the new flavor drops will be able to compete with these well established low cost products remains to be seen.


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