Cheapest Solar Cooler by Coca Cola for Village

Coca-Cola India is known for its innovative strategies to aid the company's growth. They have often found avenues, that has been left untapped by its competitors or any other brand. This time, the company has decided to open its market in 80,000 Indian villages, that are not blessed with electricity. Out of which, 25,000 have little chance of utilising power in the conventional way. 

The thought of Coca-Cola venturing into this area came, when Atul Singh, president and CEO, Coca Cola, visited rural markets in the summer of 2009, where shops served him warm Coke. When Singh returned, he charged two young Coke engineers, Chandan Samanta and Sunil Gulati, now aged 35 and 40, respectively, with the task of devising a low-cost solution, which came in the form of a solar cooler. 

Three-and-a-half years later, 400 such boxes deployed across many villages are said to be delivering a five-fold increase in sales. The company is confident of making ends meet, as the new business generates more than the cost of the solar cooler. It further plans to distribute 1,000 boxes free to women entrepreneurs in Madhya Pradesh, UP, Himachal Pradesh and some parts of West Bengal by 2013 and the number will go up to 5,000 in the next 3 to 4 years. Moreover, at least 22 countries in the Coke universe have lifted 400 such boxes from Coca-Cola India and are adapting it to their markets.

"It helps when we can decode the consumer's voice, not just for launching new products, but also newer packages, price points' etc," says Singh. "Solar cooler is one such example of an innovation based on local insights and ground realities."

Adds Asim Parekh, vice president - Technical, India and South West Asia, Coca-Cola India, "These (cooler) boxes are bringing first time customers who never tasted our beverages before. The model is helping create a market in areas where Coke was not present at all."  


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