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Battle for Control: Can Fanta Apple Undo La Casera’s Grip on the CSD Market?

The Nigerian Carbonated Soft Drink (CSD) sector is gradually returning to profitability after a weak performance caused by an increasingly health consciousness market concerned about its sugar intake as well as a growing interest in fruit juices.

In its 2013 report on the Nigerian market, Euromonitor International attributed the improved performance of the CSD market to creative marketing strategies adopted by the sector manufacturers to connect with the vibrant youth consumer segment which undoubtedly is in the majority and holds more prospects for the category.

For instance, the development of fruit-flavoured carbonates coupled with the introduction of new packs like the contemporary PET bottles, which are more suited for on-the-go consumption, has helped to spur demand.

Ever since its arrival in 2000, The La Casera Company, pioneer of PET bottled CSD in Nigeria, has continued to grow its brand of flavoured drinks, establishing a name for itself in carbonates. Its flagship brand, La Casera Apple, dominates the apple segment of the CSD market which undoubtedly is the most viable compared to other fruity flavoured carbonates.

Though Coca-Cola Nigeria Ltd still maintains a leading position in the two categories of carbonates (cola and non-cola) and bottled water – thanks to its well established name, strong distribution network and huge marketing expenditure – the company has found it extremely difficult to break even in the fruity flavoured market, where La Casera Apple leads. However, with the introduction of the new Fanta Apple, the beverage giant may have finally pitched a direct battle against La Casera.

La Casera Apple flavor (50cl)(Pack of 6)

Speaking at the launch of the new Fanta Apple flavoured drink, the Marketing Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Patricia Jemibewon, said the drink is specifically formulated for the youthful consumer segment and has a great fruity apple taste that Nigerians will love.

According to her, “Fanta Apple is targeted particularly at the youth and has been developed for Nigerian taste buds. We have had an excellent response on our other variants and with the national launch of Fanta Apple we are extending our market leadership in the fruit-flavoured sparkling drink segment.”

Speaking on the brand essence, Senior Brand Manager – Flavours, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Toyin Nnodi, said, “The Fanta Apple Flavour variant has been specially formulated with a focus on young, active, daring and unconventional young adults who desire and yearn for a change from conventional soft drinks. It comes at a time when Fanta Orange has established itself. The new product complements the company’s sparkling portfolio.”

With the new addition, Coca-Cola Nigeria now has three variants of the Fanta brand which already boasts of the popular Fanta Orange and Fanta Pineapple.

Interestingly, the new Fanta Apple not only comes in a 50cl PET pack but also has 35cl and 50cl glass bottles and 33cl on-the-go cans that appeal to individual needs.

While it may be early to say whether Fanta Apple will take over the market from La Casera, one thing is certain; the Apple CSD category market has begun to witness a new graph.

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