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Coke may introduce Thums Up and Maaza to international markets.

Beverage maker Coca-Cola is exploring the possibility of taking two of its biggest India-made brands Thums Up and Maaza to global markets, said Henrique Braun, the company’s global president, international development. India is seeing high growth momentum across all sectors aided by government’s investments on infrastructure and digitisation, he said in an interview at the company’s country headquarters in Gurgaon.

While homegrown cola brand Thums Up has crossed $1 billion in sales in India, Maaza juice is expected to enter the billion-dollar club by 2024.

“What we are doing on global platforms is looking at possibilities to import or export brands to the rest of the world,” said Braun, who took over the job last month and is in charge of Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Eurasia, Africa and Latin America operations.

Speaking on two other India-created flavours, Maaza Aam Panna and Fanta Apple Delite, Braun said, “We are being very open-minded about local brands and flavours–a unique idea that can fly here, can fly in other markets. So the point is, we are looking at opportunities to leverage brands to markets with different innovation and flavours.”

The world’s largest beverage maker sees India as a “big bet,” where it will continue to invest for accelerated growth.

“India is showing high growth demand momentum across all sectors,” he said. “What the government has been doing in terms of investing in infrastructure and also bringing up an open network on digital platforms, all put together is a very good environment for growth… You can get ahead of the game when the momentum continues to be good for investment.”

The maker of Coca-Cola, Thums Up and Sprite carbonated drinks, Minute Maid juices, Georgia coffee and Schweppes soda, has allocated $1 billion for India manufacturing to accelerate growth in brands and broaden the portfolio to include more hydration categories, including juices, tea and coffee, sports drinks and glucose-infused drinks.

Hailing India as a market that is “booming in terms of acceleration of digitisation,” Braun said the beverage maker is betting on accretive growth from digital channels.

“The number of startups you have in India allows connections in a very unique way,” he said. “The way India is integrating the platforms on digital is a best practice we are taking to global markets.”

India could be in the top three or four markets “in the near future,” he said. Coca-Cola India reported 2.5 billion transactions in the September quarter. In the Asia-Pacific region, it reported unit case volume growth of 9%, driven by strong growth in India and China.

Braun, who’s been with the company for over 25 years in various leadership roles, said Coca-Cola is strengthening its focus on lower sugar content. Foods and beverage companies around the world are speeding up the transformation of their portfolios to step up nutrition while lowering sugar, salt and fat content amid rapidly changing consumer preferences and shareholder scrutiny.

Coca-Cola’s low-sugar products include Coke Zero, Diet Coke and Thums Up Charged.

“Our approach on products with less sugar is on three fronts–reformulation of current formulas, bringing in a new pipeline of products that have less sugar but more flavour, and different pack sizes,” Braun said.

On the government’s upcoming regulations for front-of-pack labels on foods and beverages on which companies will need to declare star ratings based on sugar, salt and fat content, he said, “When you have regulation, there could be a short-term impact, which we will work on to fix. We will always be part of any discussions on environment and regulations, and will always comply and adapt.”



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