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Can Beverage Sector recover after COVID?

Interview with Victor Wong
CEO Myanmar of Bottling Investment Group at Coca-cola

First, please introduce yourself and your background to our readers.

 I’m Victor, CEO of Coca-Cola Pinya Beverages Myanmar. I started my career with Coca-Cola 20 years ago as a market execution tracker in Hong Kong. Over the years, I am blessed with the opportunity to work across different parts of our organization – from strategy, to commercial operations, to brand marketing, as well as post M&A integration. I moved to Myanmar about a year ago after having spent over a decade with our Mainland China operation. I was educated in the US with a degree in economics from the University of Chicago.

How many soft drinks brands Coca-Cola is producing in Myanmar?

We currently offer 22 products, close to 60 SKUs, across 6 categories – sparkling, energy drink, dairy, juices, ready to drink tea, and water. Riding on our global direction of becoming a “Total Beverage Company”, we are committed to offer the people of Myanmar a diverse set of beverage choices to fit their different lifestyles and needs. We are redesigning a lot of recipes in our portfolio, making sure we continue to provide great tasting products that consumers love while at the same time reducing the sugar level. We are also looking at expanding our package offering tailored for different consumer segments and drinking occasions.

How are you affected by Covid-19?

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the global economy and people’s daily lives, Myanmar is no exception. Across all sectors, businesses are severely impacted due to the decreased demand from consumers as a result of their reduced income. Similarly, to our business, we see some downward trends in some channels due to restriction. However, I am cautiously optimistic that the beverage sector will see quick recovery as it is one of the essential items in people’s daily lives. 

How do you prioritize your target segment to compete with other brands here?

One of our key strategic shifts is to become more consumer centric with a focus on choice and convenience. We know Myanmar people want choices, and all the trends confirm that consumers want to explore different types of beverages. We are redesigning some of the company’s beverage recipes to reduce sugar and investing to make the next generation of zero-calorie sweeteners. The goal is to provide a low and no-sugar beverage option for consumers to choose from without having to give up the great tastes they know and love. This means that we are transforming our portfolio to become more responsive to the tastes and needs of the people of Myanmar.

What are the key success factors for a bottling plant?

Bottling business is where the rubber hits the road, and success lies in our ability to effectively execute strategies in the marketplace.  We are constantly striving to expand our distribution network, capture a fair share of space in the outlets, build consumption moments……………..

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