Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Great Coca Cola Question

So (as per my Fulbright project),
I was sitting in the middle of a brand planning meeting for Pepsi's new foray into Andhra Pradesh (for those of you who don't know, its a state in India), where they want to increase their soft drink sales. At this meeting in New Delhi, at an Indian brand planning agency, with all Indians except me, the discussion turned to why Americans consume so much Coca Cola/Pepsi and why Indians do not. In India, getting the average person to consume any soft drink more than once or twice a month is difficult, in part because people do not consume flavored drinks with food. In the USA people drink soft drinks with lunch, breakfast, snack, and when we get down to it, anytime and anywhere. In India, there is this idea that adding a flavored drink to your meal will ruin the meal and expressions of general disgust are made when this is mentioned. Soft drinks are consumed in India at: movie theatres, hanging out with friends at the mall/street corner/ dhaba (street side stall) etc. Maybe soft drinks are served to guests at a house if it is hot out, or if they are children, but tea is considered nicer and more appropriate. But this does not explain why Americans consume so much soda.

So I am asking everyone for your help:
Why do Americans drink so much Soda/Pop/Cola?

I was unable to answer this question,
maybe you can help me explain it to my Indian friends and colleagues.

3 comments:

sood13545 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sood13545 said...

Namaste Suzanne!

I love surfing the web, and have put google alerts (read extracts of related stuff on web) for some interesting and lovable keywords, and 'INDIA' happens to be one naturally :-)

And, then one of the alerts that I received today morning had one of the entries clicking on which I landed your blog. Interesting, light hearted and simple yet impressive it is I must say.

Wishing you a nice stay here. BTW, from the little stuff that I've read as of now, it seems you are on some kind of assignment/ project. Is it so? Well, all I can say is you can mail me in case you require any info anytime while in India. I belong to Shimla and am putting up in Delhi for last decade.

Bye4now. I'm bookmarking your blog to read your posts and experiences here in India.

As for the question you are seeking an answer in this post of yours, I think its the Indians' food habits combined with treating the soft drinks more like a non-nutritional/ non-beneficial thing, is what makes Indians consume less of it. :-)

I personally prefer 'lassi' (butter milk) or neembu-paani (lime water) or saada paani (plain water) with my food and no soft drink :-)

Suzanne Schwartz said...

I don't like soda with Indian food either, I want to taste all the flavors...