New Delhi: Global beverages major Coca-Cola Company is tailoring its business to meet the requirements of rural India, which the company has identified as a ‘huge opportunity’.

“There are 700 million people in India who live in rural area. We don’t want to neglect them. We see a huge opportunity there," Coca-Cola Company executive vice-president and chief marketing and commercial officer Joseph Tripodi told reporters on the sidelines of AdAsia 2011.

A file photo of children in Goa in front of a painted Coca-Cola sign

“We need to make our products available, we need to make the products are affordable, we need to make sure the packages are at the right size. So packaging, right price points, right availability are all important components," he said.

Besides, the company is also looking at the supply chain issues and how to optimize through innovative ways.

“How do we get our manufacturing closer to the people? We constantly look at innovations against on all these things. We are looking at supply chain, to optimize our supply chain. We are bullish on not only the urban centers but also what can happen on the rural environments," Tripodi said.

He also said Coca-Cola has done estimation on how the Indian middle class population will grow in the next decade projecting more growth opportunities for the firm.

“We project almost a billion people entering the middle class in the next decade (in India). Almost 800 million people are moving in the cities. When people move in to the cities their lives become fast and they want packaged beverage, that is s why we are very bullish on India," he said.

With such opportunities ahead, he said India is one of the most important markets across all dimensions of profit, people, partnerships and productivity for Coca-Cola.

“India is a strategic market for the Coca-Cola company that we have to have a significant presence in. We invest a lot of money in India. We have in the past and we will continue to do so in future. In the 21 quarters we have had nice double digit growth in India," Tripodi added.

Asked about localization of taste in order to tap the market more intensely, he said, “There are big opportunities on flavors and appealing to the local palate which I’m very supportive of. I think it’s definitely important to appeal to the local palate."

Citing the example of Mexico which is the most successful market for the company in terms of local brands or flavor extensions, he said the Fanta brand has 15 different flavor extensions in the country.