By Moses Kaketo
A few years ago, Crown Beverages, the manufactures of Pepsi- Cola launched a mineral water brand that failed miserably. Management had to withdraw it from the market.
Recently, Pepsi Uganda yet again launched another mineral water brand called NIVANA.The brand was silently launched on the market with no official launch. Did management pick any lessons from the failed brand?
Otherwise, Nivana faces serious competition from the already established and vibrant brands like: Rwenzori Mineral Water, Wavah Mineral water, HighLand, AQUA SIPI among others. Is Nivana water going to survive in this competitive market?
Like other brands on the market, the 600ml Nivana goes for Ugx. 1000.-Meaning the pricing is okay. However, there other issues Crown Beverages must fix, if Nivana is to take on the existing vibrant brands.
There are over 40 mineral water brands on the market competing for the same market that is growing smaller by the day.
The major players in the market have already positioned themselves.
Rwenzori for example has besides general brand (500ml bottle) and big bottles (one litre to five litres), they have a special brand -Rwenzori Premium that targets high end market.
Fast growing HighLand Natural Mineral bottled by N.c Beverages Limited with a market share of 45 percent, recently introduced the big containers [ mineral water] for office and Family.
For now, Nivana Mineral Water is focusing on the 600ML segment [ which is very competitive] with over 40 players?
Will Nivana survive in this segment given the stiff competition?
When you go to the villages, Riham Water which sales for as low as Ugx. 500 has already taken over this market.
That said, each region in Uganda has got a mineral water brand serving it. In Hoima for example, we have Albertine Mineral Water. In Masaka, Banana Font Mineral water bottled by the Catholic nuns is the only mineral water that resident trust. In Mbarara, GBK mineral water turns out to be the favourite brand. In Arua, Tororo Gulu and other regions also have local brands commanding the area.
Which segment is Nivana Water going to focusing on? Or it is going to be just another brand on the market?
While it is too early to conclude, analysts say Nivana water is likely to face a rough time in the already saturated market. Its survival will heavily depend on a clear strategy which seems to be lacking for now.
Is Pepsi Uganda encircled?
Pepsi Uganda seems to be getting attacks from all sides and more so on her main brands. Coca Cola recently introduced Vimto Soda, a brand that is expected to take on Pepsi Cola’s cash cow- Mirinda Fruity. Mirinda Fruity is said to be controlling 42 percent of all the sodas sold in Uganda.
The aggressive Riham Cola recently launched Sky View soda, a brand that is similar or a copycat of Pepsi Uganda second selling brand- Mountain Dew.
All this is happening at time when Pepsi Cola has had leadership changes at the top. The new team is said to be still learning on the job.
The Pepsi Uganda also dropped her Public Relations and marketing firm-FireWorks, the agency that was behind the successful marketing of Pepsi Cola brands including: Mountain Dew, Mirinda Fruity, Mirinda Green Apple among others.
The Pepsi Uganda has also heavily cut its marketing and communication budget. The once mighty beverage firm has for example suspended adverting on: billboards, online and Television.
The beverage firm whose market share recently dropped to below 30 percent from 50%, has since abandoned its traditional bill board sites like one in Nakawa near Makerere University Business small gate and another one in Mulago-Wandegeya next to Mulago hospital main entrance. While the radio adverts have also been reduced.
It is no surprise, Nivana mineral water and STING Energy drink, the company’s latest new brands have not been given enough noise in the market.
But, all hope is not lost, Pepsi Cola Africa has promised to support the firm to ‘stand again’. With strong support of chairman Amos Mzeyi, it is a matter of time before Pepsi Uganda regains its lost glory. But will competition allow them to reorganize?