Powered by Blogger.

Coca-Cola plans sports drink Powerade launch ahead of CWG

Coca-Cola India is running against time to launch its sports drink Powerade in the country before the Commonwealth Games in October.

The official beverages partner is keen to have a sports drink in its portfolio before the games takes off in New Delhi even if that means importing the product, a person close to the company brass said.

The world’s largest drink maker plans to start local manufacturing of Powerade in India, said the person on condition of anonymity.

But it will import the brand in case production is not ready in time for the games, he added. When contacted, a Coca-Cola India spokesman would not confirm or deny the proposed launch of Powerade. “As part of our beverage innovation pipeline, we are always on the look out for new opportunities,” he told ET. “We will get back to you as our plans fructify.”

As official partners, Coca-Cola has exclusive rights to serve drinks in its portfolio to athletes, spectators, team officials and volunteers at the games. But athletes mostly avoid fizzy drinks and prefer sports drinks instead. Hence the rush to launch Powerade.

Its biggest rival and world’s largest sports drinks brand Gatorade from PepsiCo is present in India since 2004. PepsiCo last month extended the brand to the ready-to-mix powder format, making it more accessible.

GlaxoSmithKline is working on commercial launch of its sports drink Lucozade which was test-marketed during the Mumbai Marathon in January this year.

It is not clear which all flavours of Powerade will be launched in India. In global markets, Powerade is available in a variety of flavors including orange, berry, lemon and mango. The brand also has a low-calorie variant — Powerade Option — in some markets.

Apart from Powerade, Coca-Cola also has Aquaruis in its global sports drinks portfolio. The agreement between Coca-Cola and the Commonwealth Games (CWG) organising committee at present includes fizzy drinks Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Thums Up, Fanta, Limca and Sprite, juice-based Nimbu Fresh, Maaza and Minute Maid, and water brands Kinley and Bonaqua.

It, however, excludes Coke’s energy drink Burn because energy drinks contain caffeine, which is banned for athletes.

Coca-Cola is aggressively chasing its arch rival PepsiCo in the global sports drinks market dominated by Gatorade.

Last year, Coca-Cola relaunched Powerade as Powerade Ion4 — a formulation claimed to replenish electrolytes lost in sweat.

Soon after, PepsiCo sued Coca-Cola over advertisements claiming that Gatorade was an ‘incomplete’ sports drink since it only contained two of the four key electrolytes.

The matter was ruled in favour of Coca-Cola for reasons including Gatorade making similar claims about its own brands, PepsiCo failing to prove any damage caused by the ads and that the commercials were run only for a limited period.

Fortified waters and sports drinks saw steep volume declines in 2009 in the US and Gatorade declined in double digits globally.

Coca-Cola was the official beverages partner for the Youth Commonwealth Games in Pune in 2008. Globally, the brand has been associated with the Olympic Games since 1928.


Post a Comment

Copyright © Killer Cola. All Rights Reserved.