NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 24 – Local juice bottler Beverage Services Kenya Limited (BSK) has been re-branded in a bid to reposition itself as the juice market leader in the region.
Now known as Coca-Cola Juices Kenya Limited, the company that operated as Coca-Cola’s juice bottler since 2002 will now manufacture and export the Minute Maid Brand within the East Africa Community, COMESA and West Africa.
With the juice market in the African region still largely fragmented, Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa Business Unit President Nathan Kalumbu said the re-branding represents an opportunity for growth.
“The juice business in sub-Saharan Africa is about 25 percent of the total commercial non-alcoholic beverage consumption. It’s growing so we would like to be able to take advantage of what we’re seeing in the marketplace and provide consumers with options,” he said.
Kalumbu, who was speaking during a media briefing on Monday, added that as the youth population in Sub-Saharan Africa continues to grow and urbanization rates increase; changing consumer demographics characteristic of Kenya and the region is inevitable.
Coca-Cola Juices Kenya General Manager Saider Sibanda said the company was looking to increase its juice production, already scaling up its manufacturing plant in industrial area, to cater for both the local and export markets.
“Our capacity improvements are going to move by close to 45 or 55 percent, almost doubling our capacity. The export markets at the moment are contributing 20 percent. We’re expecting to move that to 40 percent contribution to our total sales,” he revealed.
With a target of 15 sub-Saharan African countries, Coca-Cola Juices Kenya currently exports to just under 10 countries.
Coca-Cola also embarked on a joint sustainability effort with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Technoserve, dubbed Project Nurture that has recruited, trained and funded 15,300 small-scale fruit farmers in Kenya.
Kalumbu says the initiative aims to mainstream farmers into the Coca-Cola supply chain that has already earned them Sh150 million from a supply of 7.3 tons of mango and passion fruits in the last 12 months.
“Our key role is to double their revenues by 2014. We are working very aggressively to make sure we provide our fruit farmers with access to markets. The juice business is a growth business. Overall the juice market in sub-Saharan Africa is growing at an average of 12 to 15 percent,” he said.
Juice represents the second largest opportunity in the beverage sector, with juice volumes opportunities in 2011 at approximately 180 million unit cases and a possible growth of over 200 million unit cases by next year.