Coca-Cola injects Sh2.7 bn into Kenya to diversify product range


The Coca Cola logo is unveiled at the Coca-Cola Complex in Upper Hill, Nairobi, in 2013. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Coca-Cola has invested Sh2.7 billion in a new production line which the beverage maker says will from next year start manufacturing new brands alongside its mainstay soda, juice and water products.

The new filling line, which is located in Embakasi, is currently being used to manufacture a revamped range of Minute Maid juices as well as increase its production.

The manufacturer’s latest investment in a multibillion shilling production and packaging line in Nairobi brings its total local investment to Sh9.3 billion since 2016.

Coca-Cola Central East and West Africa Limited, a local subsidiary of the giant soft drinks manufacturer, produces soda (such as Coca-Cola, Fanta, Krest and Sprite, water (Dasani & Keringet) and juices (Minute Maid).

Move from soda

The multinational beverage firm has however been looking to diversify its portfolio, mostly to move away from soda which has experienced depressed sales globally.

This strategy, which also includes reducing the sugar content in the firm’s beverages, is now being adopted across all of Coca-Cola's markets.

“We no longer see ourselves as just a soda manufacturing company. The Coca-Cola Company has grown to be bigger than brand ‘Coca-Cola’,” Brian Smith, Coca-Cola’s President for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said during a visit to Nairobi.

“In 2016, we embarked on a transformational journey, as the leader of the beverage industry, placing our stakeholders and consumers firmly at the centre of our business strategy. This is important if we have to grow responsibly.”

Coca-Cola also produces sports drinks, smoothies, teas and coffees in other markets, brands which may soon be produced locally.

Growing competition

The soft drinks market in Kenya has been growing more competitive in recent years with the entry of new players.

Bidco is constructing a Sh4 billion beverage plant in Thika. In 2015 Kevian Kenya, the manufacturers of Afia Juices, acquired a water bottling plant from Kenblest.

“With innovation at the centre of this new business strategy, we will be able to create more opportunities for to use local ingredients and other inputs,” said Mr Smith.

“This has a positive ripple effect on both the micro and macro economy, and this illustrates the overall impact on Kenya and other African countries where we operate,” he added.

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