Soda firms struggle to keep market share with new ideas

Wednesday August 7 2013

Coca-Cola-Plant

 

By FARIDAH KULABAKO

Kampala

Soda manufacturers have come up with new innovations as they quietly struggle to hold onto their market share as well as entering new territories.

Lately, the industry has seen some fierce competition with the entry of new players in the market that have come up as cheaper or affordable alternatives. The entry of three new players in the soft drinks market this year, including Riham, Azam and Fizzy sodas are believed to have shade some traditional manufacturers market share, a situation that has created panic among the affected companies.

Riham’s 320ml plastic soda bottles (Riham Cola, Riham Fun-Time and Riham Wats Up) hit the market recently breaking up the near market monopoly of two companies, including Century Bottling Company (Coca-Cola) and Crown Beverages (Pepsi).

The three soda brands packaged in plastic bottles [320ml] retail at Shs1,000 compared to Coca-Cola’s and Pepsi’s [500 ml] brands that are retailed at Shs2,000.
Recently, Coca-Cola seemed to have taken the battle to Riham’s door by launching a 350ml plastic pack in Coca-Cola and Fanta Orange, retailing at Shs1,500.

Alleged infringement
Earlier this year, Coca-Cola went to court alleging that Riham had infringed on its trademarks pointing out marked similarities in relation to brand colours, packaging and contents.

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Coca-Cola sought an injunction that would restrict Riham from further infringing on its brands, as well as recalling all products that were purportedly considered infringements.

Coca-cola and Pepsi have glass packaged sodas [300ml] retailing at Shs1,000 but are not convenient for consumers since they cannot carry away bottles from the point of sale. Ms Maureen Kyomuhendo, the Century Bottling Company Limited communications manager, said the new packaging was in response to the firm’s need to offer affordable and convenient products.

However, market analysts believe the beverage manufacturer was forced to react to Riham’s products so as to regain part of the lost market share.
According to market analysts, convenient packing, and affordability are some of the key drivers of consumer choices.

Against this background, Riham has managed to penetrate a market that had for decades been dominated by Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola.

fkulabako@ug.nationmedia.com

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