We in India are wary of Coke and this was aptly illustrated by a recent (strange!) request of the Indian government. Just a few days ago the Supreme Court of India actually demanded that Coca-Cola should reveal its secret formula! All this has happened because of a controversy surrounding all soft drinks in India. Apparently, pesticides were found in the soft drinks and this generated a fair amount of hysteria. So much so that now some schools have banned colas altogether!
Interestingly, the pesticide hysteria has made people very conscious of what they are eating. It isn’t just the presence of pesticides that people are suddenly concerned about, but also the general lack of nutrition in soft drinks. In fact there is a rising awareness of all the junk that we tend to eat, from burgers and bhajias to chips and namkeen, the last three being deep-fried snacks.
Fruit juices have gained because of the pesticide controversy and Coke has decided to cash in on it. By launching it’s already popular brand Minute Maid, Coke will not only be able to take advantage of a business opportunity, but will also be able to re-furbish it’s tumbling image from a seller of junk to a seller of health.
How well the Coca-Cola Company will do remains to be seen. Coke is entering the fruit juice a bit late in the day. Brands like Tropiciana and Real have already made inroads into the Indian fruit juice market. On the other hand, maybe Coke is the wise one. Real and Tropiciana have had to literally carve a decent place for themselves in a tiny market…but now the market has taken on a life of it’s own.