Heralding the cut-throat competition in soft drinks on the Ugandan market, Pepsi announced that it had effective Wednesday sliced the price of its 500ml and 1L plastic bottled soda by Shs300 and Shs500 respectively.
However Coke Cola appears to have been caught on the wrong foot with its 500ml still priced at Shs2000 but the price cut won’t be applicable to Pepsi’s other brands.
When contacted, Innocent Tibayeita the head of sales and marketing Crown Beverages Limited, the maker of Pepsi Cola products in Uganda told RedPepper Online, “We are making fresh comments on our pricing strategy. We understand the needs of our customers and are always innovating both at the product and price levels to satisfy them.”
The fresh price war, triggered by Pepsi follows an earlier onslaught by the entry of new players in the market that have come up as cheaper options and tight competition.
The emergency of three new players in the soft drinks market this year, including Azam, Fizzy and Riham sodas who encroached on the traditional manufacturers’ market share, creating fright among the affected companies.
The three soda brands packaged in plastic bottles [320ml] retail at Shs1,000 compared to Coca-Cola’s and Pepsi’s [500 ml] brands that are retailed at Shs2,000 and shs1, 500 respectively.
But according to industry sources, this sectory is heavily dependent on returnable glass bottles and Pepsi’s price reduction strategy is critical to drive volumes both with the glass returnable and PET bottles.
“The new prices are also meant to encourage new soda consumers to buy our products because the prices are friendlier especially in these hard economic times. However, the quality of our sodas will not be compromised,” Mr. Tibayeita added.
Sources further say Coke mid this year had taken the price war head on by introducing a 350ml plastic pack in Coca-Cola and Fanta Orange, retailing at Shs1, 500.
Pepsi gaining ground
Uganda’s per capita soda consumption is at 23 bottles, Kenya’s about 40 bottles and Tanzania 35 bottles.
PET bottles are positioned as on-the-go packs, is extremely price-sensitive and mostly sold in towns.
Crown Beverages Limited bottles Pepsi-Cola, 7-Up, Mirinda Fruity, Mirinda Orange, Mirinda pineapple, Mirinda Green Apple, Mountain Dew and Evervess.
The price reduction comes at a time when CBL is making ground to gain market leadership in the industry having been in operation for 20 years.
Crown Beverages Limited bottles global brands that stand for quality, are respected household names and have a rich heritage. For instance, the Pepsi brand boasts a long and rich history in Uganda.
Even as its bottlers and handlers have evolved, Ugandans have savored the soft drink since 1951 when it was first bottled by the then Lake Victoria Bottling Company.