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Iranian Cola to Compete with Pepsi and Coke In India

New Delhi, Nov 22, IRNA-Coke and Pepsi may soon have a competitor in India in the form of Iranian soft drink major ZamZam.

"Looking at the huge customer base in India, we have carried out a survey to gauge customer preferences, attitude, channels of operation and transportation. The response is quite encouraging," Hossein Abolhassani, marketing and export deputy and member of the board of ZamZam Iran, told IRNA while talking to reporters.

"We are negotiating with a number of prospective partners. We are confident of fulfilling all regulations of the Indian government and will provide better quality products than the current players in India," he further said.

Abolhassani is currently in New Delhi to participate in the India International Trade Fair (IITF). The ZamZam product range includes orange, lemonade and cola (regular or diet) flavours.

"Though I have visited India earlier, we are participating in the IITF for the first time and the exposure is good. It's a good interaction point with probable partners," he said.

He said his company expected to enter the market by the end of 2007.

According to him, with scores of varieties and capability to roll out its products at cheaper rates, the Iranian firm will give a tough competition to established players like Pepsi and Coke in India.

"Iranian regulatory standards are more stringent than those of FDA (Food and Drug Administration - the US agency responsible for regulating food, drug and dietary products) and we are ready to adhere to any quality control parameters the Indian government wants," he claimed.

Once in the market, a 330-ml aluminum can of ZamZam will cost consumers only Rs.11.

"In India we can get cheap labour, indigenous machines, and good transport facilities. All this will help us to keep the price band low," Abolhassani said.

"Once we get a good partner and government clearance, we will give the license to our Indian partner. A team of quality control officials will train people here. The product proportion will be decided by our experts before the bottling begins," he added.

ZamZam occupies nearly 40 percent of the market in Iran, rolling out three billion bottles of soft drinks ranging between 250-ml and three-liter a year, according to Abolhassani. It also operates in several countries like Malaysia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Germany, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

"Since 1994 we have been operating outside Iran. Besides India, we are also looking at Iraq, Lebanon, South Africa and Sudan," he added.

... Payvand News - 11/22/06 ... --

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