Coke India reports best-ever quarter by volumes in April-June

Beverage maker Coca-Cola’s India unit reported its best quarter by volume sales in the April-June quarter, as the early onset of an intense heatwave and focus on single-serve packs pushed sales to an all-time high, it said while announcing its quarterly earnings.

Addressing an earnings call late Tuesday, Coca-Cola global chairman James Quincey said: “In India, we delivered our best-ever quarter volumetrically, delivering 1 billion incremental transactions in the quarter led by affordable single serve packs.”

The maker of Coke and Sprite soft drinks and Minute Maid juice said volume performance was driven by continued recovery in away-from-home channels and ongoing investments. Quincey said the beverage maker gained shares in sparkling soft drinks and juices and that it is “continuing to invest in the marketplace availability and execution to capture growth.”

Improved electricity in India’s villages, stable consumer prices and return of mobility after two Covid-hit summers also led to strong sector revival. The past two years had seen beverages being severely hit amid local curfews, shut-downs of marketplaces and malls, and curbs on restaurants and bars.

The June quarter saw sparkling soft drinks growing 8%, driven by growth across all geographic operating segments, primarily led by India, Mexico and Brazil, the company said in its earnings statement. Quincey said in India, the company focused on “segmented pricing, increasing prices on multi-serves and premium packs while driving price points on singles serve and the affordable portfolio.” Coca-Cola India pushed affordable entry packs and relaunched returnable glass bottles in the quarter.

“Nutrition, juice, dairy and plant-based beverages grew 6 per cent, led by Maaza in India, Del Valle in Latin America and fairlife in the United States,” Coca-Cola said.

It added that unit case volume grew 11 per cent in the Asia- Pacific region driven by strong growth in India and the Philippines. Growth was led by sparkling soft drinks and juice and juice drinks.

Coca-Cola’s bottling investments group, or company-owned bottling plants, grew 26 per cent by unit case volumes, driven by growth in all markets, led by India and the Philippines, the company added.

For soft drinks, the months of April-June contribute over 65% to annual sales of packaged beverages. Out-of-home channels such as restaurants and bars, cinemas, airports and entertainment complexes account for more than half of soft drink sales.

The quarter saw demand overtaking supplies in plants, which were running to full capacity.

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