Soft-drink maker Coca-Cola has launched nutritional and rehydration products in India in an effort to tap the growing number of health-conscious consumers and become a total beverage company.

Minute Maid Vitingo, which the beverage maker claims addresses malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency, is priced at Rs 5 for a single-serving dilutable 18gm sachet; it will be targeted towards semi-urban and rural regions. The other product, Aquarius GLUCOCHARGE, has been developed exclusively to cater to Indian consumers who toil in the heat and need instant rehydration to overcome exhaustion.

The company said in an email response to Fortune India that it aims to make Aquarius GLUCOCHARGE a mass brand in the next eight months. To market Minute Maid Vitingo, the company is tapping business-to-business wholesalers such as METRO Cash & Carry, and specifically chemists and pharmacists. For Aquarius GLUCOCHARGE, Coca-Cola will sell it through its retail network, and 45,000 splash bars (portable dispensing units) across smaller towns in the country.

According to Euromonitor International, the market for carbonates in 2017 stood at 5.4 billion litres in total volume sales (on-trade and off-trade sales). "Coca-Cola India and PepsiCo India witnessed slow growth due to changing beverage preferences among consumers and availability of cheaper options from regional companies. Lemon flavour carbonates witnessed strongest growth and cola carbonates witnessed the slowest growth for both companies," says Devchandan Mallick, research analyst, drinks and tobacco at Euromonitor International.

“The new products are in line with the company’s efforts to provide a spectrum of beverage choices to the consumer along with functional benefits across various segments of consumers," said Coca-Cola in a statement.

In the past one year, the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola has launched a range of products in traditional Indian flavours such as jal jeera and fruity flavours such as santra (orange), guava, anar (pomegranate), and litchi. It has also announced the launch of new variants of Sprite, Limca and Fanta containing 5% fruit juice.

The growing awareness among consumers about the nutritional value of the products has pushed beverage makers to make their products more healthy. Coca-Cola’s arch-rival PepsiCo has made a global commitment to have at least two-thirds of its global beverage portfolio volume to have 100 calories or less from added sugar per 12 ounce to reduce saturated fats and sodium by 2025.For more such stories . Read Nestlé India bites into healthier food.

"A significant global switch towards nutritional and healthier foods and beverage is underway and India isn’t too far. Cola brands realise that the consumer today is more aware, more conscious about what she is consuming and is seeking better and healthier alternatives. Coca-Cola in particular has been slower to act in comparison to PepsiCo which has already reduced its dependency on carbonated drinks to less than 25% of their total turnover globally," says Saurabh Uboweja, founder, CEO and chief brand strategist, Brands of Desire.

Also read-Nestlé India bites into healthier food.

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