Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 13, 2012 03:58 PM
Nearly two decades ago, Coca-Cola bought a lime drink in India called Citra from Ramesh Chauhan but then discontinued it and pushed its own Sprite instead. Now, the soda maker is testing out how Citra sells in some Indian cities and is planning a national rollout, according to the Economic Times.
The Economic Times hears that the drink “will be priced about 20% cheaper than existing lime-lemon drinks” such as Coke’s own Sprite and Limca as well as local soft drink brands owned by PepsiCo, Mountain Dew and 7Up. That will help Coke “target a wider audience and take on smaller brands” in the world’s second-most-populated country.
Industry observers are a little surprised by Coke’s plan, since Sprite is already India’s second-most-popular soda behind a drink even Roger Ebert would love, Thums Up, which is now manufactured by Coke. Sprite also leads the field in the “lime-lemon drinks segment, which is the fastest-growing soft drink category in India's 13,000-crore fizzy drinks market,” the paper notes.
"After keeping the brand in cold storage for so many years, it's strange they want to re-introduce it now, especially when they have a strong presence in the clear-lime segment," said Ramesh Chauhan to the Times of the 19 years that have passed since Citra was sold in India. "If they are looking for retention and heritage value, then logically even (the orange-flavored) Gold Spot should be revived."
Coca-Cola India marketers aren’t expecting Citra (available in select markets in the U.S. and Zambia) to “cannibalize its existing lemon drinks because there is ample room for multiple brands in a developing segment like sparkling fizzy drink in a high-potential market such as India,” a company spokesman told the Economic Times.