SCHWEPPES Zimbabwe has doubled its beverage output following the commissioning of its new US$14,5 million hot juice fill line. The production line was installed by German firm Krones AG.The new line can produce 18 000 bottles an hour, enabling the company to launch new products that are preservative-free.
One of the new products launched last week is the Minute Maid Pulpy Orange in a 400ml PET bottle, with Zimbabwe becoming only the second country in sub-Saharan Africa, after Kenya to do so.
Speaking at the launch ceremony in Harare, Coca- Cola country manager for Zimbabwe Mr Honest Marandu said the Zimbabwean launch was part of the product's broader global market expansion.
"This launch takes to 20 the number of countries with this product and we are proud of this achievement as a system in Zimbabwe.
"Minute Maid Pulpy is scheduled to be distributed on a wider scale that will extend to at least 25 countries internationally by the end of this year," he said.
Schweppes Zimbabwe has been taken over by workers and management through an empowerment deal, but the Coca-Cola Company continues to own the brands and trademarks
Coca-Cola launched Pulpy in 2005 for the first time in emerging markets and in 2010 the juice reached US$1 billion in global retail sales to become Coca- Cola's 14th billion-dollar brand.
Pulpy is also Coca-Cola's third billion-dollar juice, joining Minute Maid and Simply.
Coca-Cola senior franchise brand manager for Zimbabwe Ms Mona Karingi said the launch of Pulpy was a testament to the company's commitment to providing top quality products.
"This launch is an affirmation of our commitment to continue to lead innovation in the non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages category by offering a wide range of beverages to suit emerging trends and consumer needs," she said.
The launch by Schweppes of this first preservative-free juice (with indications of more flavours to come) is expected to benefit local farmers.
In East Africa, the Coca-Cola Company already has strategic linkages with 54 000 small-scale farmers to grow mangoes and passion fruit.
Mr Marandu said the company is exploring opportunities to develop backward integration linkages with small-scale farmers in Zimbabwe.
"Our strategy is to continue diversifying our offering of juices and juice drinks to capture this growth segment as consumers seek more choice.
"In order to continue on this path, we see backward integration as critical to sustainable sourcing of raw materials, thus our partnership with small-scale farmers."