PARIS, Dec 3 (AFP) – US soft drink giant Coca-Cola is to enter the French bottled water market this spring with its Dasani brand, the company said in a statement Wednesday.
“The expected appearance of Coca-Cola as a new actor in the bottled water market in France is for us an event that compares in importance with the launch of Coca-Cola Light in 1988,” said Hubert Patricot, chairman of Coca-Cola Enterprise France.
“As part of its strategy of innovation, Coca-Cola is expanding its offer in launching Dasani as a mineral water adapted to specific expectations of French consumers.”
Dasani is to be sold in Britain as purified water from February. But the Dasani sold in France from the spring of next year will be a non-carbonated natural mineral water drawn from a source in Chaudfontaine in eastern Belgium, the company said.
Coca-Cola has been operating since 1933 in France, where it markets a range of soft drinks, fruit juices, teas and sports drinks with annual sales of EUR 1.3 billion (USD 1.6 billion) and employs 2,500 people at 17 locations.
The global market for bottled water has shown robust growth of late as consumers – worried about pollution – shun tap water or are of the opinion that bottled water is more beneficial for personal health.
“In five years bottled water has gained five points to reach a 30 percent share of the global market for refreshing drinks, which represents 650 billion liters,” said Fits van Dijk, head of Nestle Waters Monde, a subsidiary of the giant Swiss food group.
The prize market at the moment is western Europe, where 145 liters (38 gallons) of bottled water are consumed per inhabitant per year.
Coca-Cola has been active in the sector since 1986 and now hopes to gain ground against giants Nestle, which markets such brands as Poland Spring, Arrowhead, Perrier, Contrex, Vittel and San Pellegrino, and Danone of France, which sells Evian, Acqua, Volviv, Badoit and other brands.
Subject: French news