Mangoes have been the star of one of India’s favorite beverages for 40 years. That’s why Coca-Cola and its bottling partners think expanding Maaza juice is worth the squeeze.
Coca-Cola India announced its goal to elevate Maaza to become the country's first billion-dollar juice brand earlier this month during a summit in Mumbai. An initiative sponsored by the Indian government, “Make in India” is focused at generating pride in industry by showcasing the opportunity for design, innovation and sustainability across the country's manufacturing sectors.
Maaza, a mango-based juice drink sourced, produced, bottled and distributed in India, has been a leading brand in Coke’s India portfolio since the company acquired it in 1993. Its local roots and sourcing make it a prime example of how Coca-Cola supports the “Make in India” vision.
“As we embark on this ‘MakeInIndia’ mission of turning Maaza into the world’s first billion-dollar juice drink brand coming out of India, we visualize the multiplier effect that it can have on the agriculture sector and the food processing industry, should we be able to accomplish this mission,” said Venkatesh Kini, president, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia.
Between now and 2023, the company and its India bottling partners plan to invest in launching new, affordable juice packs and incremental marketing to boost Maaza’s market awareness and penetration. They will expand distribution and augment manufacturing capacity, all with a goal of doubling the sales of Maaza over the next eight years.
Boosting the Mango Supply Chain
Maaza is packed with real mango juice, so more beverages means more mangoes.
“The success of Maaza over the last four decades has been in its simplicity – real mango experience in every sip," Kini said. "It is the perfect blend of premium Alphonso with Totapuri mango pulp rather than mango concentrate, sourced locally from some of India’s best mango orchards."
The Coca-Cola system in India procures 100,000 metric tons (more than 220 million pounds) of mango pulp each year. In 2023, if Maaza becomes the first billion-dollar juice brand from India, the system’s annual mango pulp production in India will have doubled.
Project Unnati is one way the company and its partner, Jain Irrigation, are advancing the agricultural framework needed to double pulp production. Unnati is aimed at large-scale adoption of Ultra High Density Plantation (UHDP) practice for mangoes, a process which accelerates the number of trees that can grow per acre in a shorter period of time. By encouraging sustainable, modern agricultural practices, UHDP ultimately helps double mango yields and increase farmers’ income.
“Maaza is now a guiding light and a flag post for new juice brands on what a good product can do for the entire agri-ecosystem,” said Atul Jain, Joint MD at Jain Irrigation. “We anticipated Maaza’s growth, and therefore the increased demand for fruit pulp, and four years ago launched Project Unnati. The project to be scaled up over a period of 10 years, is aimed at creating an ecosystem that delivers higher growth and income for farmers and ‘Grove to Glass’ fruit supply chain and optimizing delivery.”
Project Unnati alone is expected to deliver close to 240,000 metric tons (over 500 million pounds) of fruit by 2023–2024.
Boosting Maaza’s brand is part of the Coca-Cola system’ $5 billion investment plan in India, between 2012 and 2020. Bottlers are expanding manufacturing lines for Coca-Cola products with five Greenfield projects – essentially, constructing on unused land where there is no need to remodel or demolish existing structure. At least half of these projects will add manufacturing lines for Maaza. The new lines will help keep pace with the expected increase in demand of Maaza over the next few years.
“Bottling Maaza from mango pulp instead of fruit concentrate requires high technology and quality parameters since fruit pulp is sensitive to microbiological contamination and climate challenges,” said Asim Parekh, vice president of Technical and Supply Chain, Coca-Cola India. “We are therefore planning in advance by installing juice filling lines in 50 percent of the Greenfield sites that our bottlers will establish.
“We are also cognizant of the low mango productivity per hectare challenge in India, which is estimated at six metric tons per hectare while that of Brazil is 16 metric tons per hectare. Along with Jain Irrigation, we are betting big on UHDP to bridge the challenge of mango pulp supply.”
No matter Maaza’s expansion, it will retain the same homegrown zing consumers in India have enjoyed since the 1970s, and come in a variety of sizes and packages that fit their lifestyles. For proof behind Maaza’s pulp, Coca-Cola India will be offering special tours to consumers of mango orchards as part of Project Unnati.
Read more about Maaza here.
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