Chittoor (Andhra Pradesh) June 24 (IANS) Beverages major Coca-Cola India Pvt Ltd is hoping that the Unnati farms here contribute majorly to make its mango fruit drink Maaza a $1 billion dollar brand and also help in localisation of oranges for its Minute Maid orange juice brand said a top company official.
“The two lakh ton mango pulp needed when Maaza becomes a one billion dollar brand is majorly expected from the mangoes grown in Unnati farms. The entire two lakh ton of mango pulp will be for the domestic market,” Venkatesh Kini, President, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia told reporters here.
Project Unnati is aimed at a large scale adoption of Ultra High Density Plantation (UHDP) technique, at least in the areas where Jain Irrigation Systems and Coca-Cola have influence.
According to officials, India accounts for 50 per cent of the world’s mango production but the per acre yield is very low as compared to other countries.
Under the UHDP system, the number of tress per acre is higher by reducing gap between two trees and also their proper pruning. This ensures the trees start to yield fruits faster and it is literally low-hanging fruits where one can even lie down and have a bite.
The farmers under the Unnati project grow two mango kinds – Totapuri and Alphonso.
“The life of a tree is around 25 years and after that new trees will be planted,” an official told IANS.
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.
Project Unnati alone is expected to deliver close to 240 kilo tonnes of fruit by 2023-24, Coca-Cola India said.
Around 200,000 ton of mango pulp valued around Rs.1,100 crore would need be sourced by Coca-Cola India and its bottlers when the 40-year-old Maaza becomes a S1 billion brand by 2023, said Kini.
Currently Coca-Cola system in India sources around 100,000 ton of mango pulp worth Rs 650 crore.
Kini said Jain Irrigation, through the Coca-Cola system, exports around 25,000 tons of mango pulp to over 20 countries.
About the challenges before Coca-Cola India in achieving its target of making Maaza a $1 billion brand, Kini said the major issue is making the supply chain efficient and tying up the mango pulp sourcing.
As to the roadmap towards the Maaza goal, he said the company would achieve that by launching different pack sizes, magic price points, marketing and special advertising for different regions.
Currently Maaza commands a market size of over 50 per cent in the overall mango fruit drink segment, and the company and its bottlers plan to invest aggressively so as to double the sales of Maaza by 2023 to touch the magic target, said Kini.
The resource infusion behind Maaza is part of $5 billion investment plan of the company and its bottlers in India between 2012-2020.
The bottlers of Coca-Cola India are setting up five greenfield projects over the next two years atleast 50 per cent of which will have manufacturing lines for Maaza.
Queried about Jain Irrigation’s readiness and investment plans to cater to Coca-Cola system in India for higher mango pulp, its Managing Director Anil B. Jain said: “Adding capacity is not a major problem. It needs only around nine months to put up a pulping plant.”
The major challenge is to tie up with farmers to grow mangoes in their farms under the company’s UHDP system, he said.
According to Jain, the company is planning to put up two new pulping plants in the south – one each in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
“The investment needed will be around Rs 100 crore per plant. The plant will have the capability to process different fruits,” a group official told IANS.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at email@example.com)