Pradip Pandey has a career spanning 25 years in different capacities across FMCG & Food industries including Cadbury India, Smithkline Beecham, GM Pens, Frito-Lay India and Wockhardt. Pandey has capably served the Coca-Cola Company since 2006 and before Nepal he was the Zonal Vice President handling India’s East Zone comprising ten states, and covering a part of Bengal too.
Pandey’s extensive experience in handling and leading business operations from building a culture of continuous process improvement to implementing systems and S&OP process for optimising service, product effectiveness, cost, inventory and customer service has been instrumental in leading this chapter for the Company’s bottling operations in Nepal. Excerpts of a conversation with the dynamic Pradip Pandey on Coca-Cola’s localization strategies and sustainability practices:
Coca-Cola recently launched its new product. What went behind the latest introduction in the beverage category?
As a total beverage company, Coca-Cola is providing more choices to consumers when selecting the perfect size refreshment to suit their lifestyle and occasion. The introduction of the new 175ml RGB (Returnable Glass Bottle) bottle which is the smallest in Coca-Cola’s beverage category is priced at just Rs. 25 making it the most affordable in Nepal. To build stronger and deeper connections with our consumers the Coca-Cola logo is printed in Nepali on the new bottle which we hope our consumers will appreciate and enjoy.
The bottle launched this time is RGB instead of the usual PET bottles, what initiated this change?
The World Without Waste program was launched in 2018 with the aim to collect and recycle all bottles and cans equivalent to what we produce by 2030. We launched the Jigri Pack in 2018 which is a 250ml bottle in recyclable PET packaging.
This is the very first time that we have launched a new glass bottle as we are very keen on having sustainable packaging, RGB bottles (besides PET) are a sustainable form of packaging. The glasses are returnable and reusable making them environment friendly.
What do you believe is behind Coca-Cola’s continuous success?
Reflecting on the journey of Coca-Cola over the years, we have always been resilient and quickly adapted to new situations and kept supporting our consumers, communities and our company. We also have our consumers and communities where we operate in at the core of our virtues. We are all guided by our company’s purpose which is to refresh the world and make a difference.
Many brands are adopting localisation strategies; how does Coca-Cola stay relevant in different markets?
I believe it is our responsibility as a company to offer consumers products that they would resonate with. There are a few key things that has remained consistent at Coca-Cola. The refreshing taste of Coca-Cola, the logo and our contour bottle itself. And yet, we have stayed relevant to every market and country where it is consumed. Staying relevant wherever we go what makes Coca-Cola is the most loved beverage in Nepal.
As an example, our new RGB bottles have the Coca-Cola logo printed in Nepali language for the very first time which I hope our Nepali consumers will enjoy very much. Additionally, we have Coke and Meals which part of Coca-Cola’s global campaign however we have localised the concept to make it more relevant with our consumers here by associating Coke with popular food in Nepal like momos and chowmein. Every year, we celebrate Dashain with our consumers here by launching our yearly Dashain campaigns where we celebrate relationships with our family and loved ones.
From our various campaigns, we have always aimed to build and foster much deeper connections with our consumers. Communicating with our consumers in their own language, I believe, shows the love and respect we have for them. This has helped us to be locally relevant and understand the need of our Nepali consumers. In this way, we offer our consumers not just a beverage but an enjoyable drinking experience.
Can you verbalize the other environment preserving activities Coca-Cola is involved in?
We act in ways to create a more sustainable and better shared future. To make a difference in people’s lives, communities and our planet by doing business the right way; to tackle the interconnected worldwide challenges of packaging waste, we announced our global ‘World Without Waste’ initiative in Nepal in 2018. In support to its global vision, Coca-Cola in Nepal has taken upon many recycling initiatives in order to achieve the “World Without Waste” objectives in the coming decade through its several projects namely Nagarmitra, Recycler Saathi and Refresh and Recycle. We raise awareness about PET recycling and make sure we reduce usage as much as we can. We also focus on energy consumption at our plants.
Additionally as water is a key ingredient in our beverages, Water Stewardship is another initiative of ours where we strive to restore and replenish every drop of we use. We have affluent treatment and rainwater harvesting facilities at our plant. We give back more water than we consume. Through our Water Stewardship projects, we aim to become a water neutral company very soon.
Many of our projects in recycling and water are something we know we can’t do alone. We work with stakeholders, nonprofits, communities, governments and our industry toward a clean environment. At the moment, Coca-Cola has teamed up with the Nepal Army for the Mountain Cleaning Campaign 2021; Nepal’s largest joint project with various stakeholders to keep our glorious mountains clean and pristine.