Coca-Cola launches the Limca lemonade brand in Nigeria

Coca-Cola Nigeria has announced the launch of Limca, a new carbonated soft drinks brand. Limca, traditionally a lemon-lime flavoured beverage, was originally launched in India in 1977. Limca’s launch gives Coca-Cola a new brand with which to target value customers.

Coca-Cola’s launch statement describes the brand as having “unique cola taste” that will “deliver refreshment to consumers on-the-go.” It will be launched nationally in Nigeria in 60cl PET bottles at the price of N100 ($0.28). It will be available in Lemon-Lime, Bitter Lemon and Soda Water variants.

Limca was first launched in India in 1977 by Parle Beverages. when the Indian government allowed Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to enter India in 1992, Coca-Cola acquired Parle Beverages (the owner of the then most popular carbonated soft drinks brand in India, Thums Up). In Nigeria, NBC, Coca-Cola’s bottling partner, has been promising much needed innovation in the product range for more than a year.

The Limca launch is important in two key ways:

  • Not just a cola – despite its description as a cola in Nigerian media, Limca isn’t generally a cola. It’s a lemonade, an Indian analogue to Coca-Cola’s Sprite, or 7 Up. So the Limca Cola is clearly an attempt to keep the main Cola brand premium while attacking cheaper rivals. As we have noted before, Coca-Cola is facing growing competition in colas from Pepsi, Big Cola, Bigi Cola and RC Cola. But Limca is a product range, too. So it will hit rivals outside the cola category too.
  • Affordability – The main Coca-Cola brand retails for N150 for a 50cl bottle or N100 for a 35cl bottle – 10% more expensive than Pepsi and 20% more expensive than domestic brands. Limca’s affordability at the all important N100 price point AND its 60cl bottle size is an attempt to outflank competitors and create a value/entry brand.

Competitors will, inevitably respond on pricing, but importantly Limca gives HBC a tool with which to compete on affordability without compromising the main coca-Cola brand.