Uganda’s Crown Beverages, which manufactures Pepsi-Cola products, plans to increase its presence in Rwanda by launching operations in Burundi and DR Congo.
Rwanda’s soft beverage industry is dominated by Bralirwa, which is facing firm challenges to increase production and meet the country’s growing demand.
“We are bringing out the greatest and tastiest flavours in Rwanda’s carbonated drinks industry, “Aggie Asiimwe Konde, the head of marketing at the Kampala-based firm said in an interview.
Crown Beverages bottles brands such as Pepsi, Mirinda, 7UP, Evervess, Peak Mineral water and Mountain Dew.
Asiimwe said that Pepsi has started importing and distributing in Rwanda following the high demand for soft drinks.
“We have tripled our capacity by putting up a new line, and we will be able to supply Rwanda market and also launch our distribution for Burundi and DRC,’ she added.
The plans come in the wake of a shortage of soft drinks, particularly Bralirwa’s Coca cola brands, which led to price increases in some parts of the country.
Experts say that Bralirwa’s annual output of 1.3 million hecta litres can no longer cater for the demand and therefore, the entry of Pepsi seen as a healthy competition and bridge the shortfall.
However, Freddy Nyangezi, Bralirwa’s Corporate Affairs Manager noted that the entrance would not affect their market share as the company’s reputation of providing high quality brands is what drives the current large market share in both soft drinks and the beers.
“This is not their first time to come into Rwandan market, what am confident at is that we offer high quality products and we give our customers that freedom to enjoy,” he said.
Jeanine Niyonsaba, the General Manager at Bourbon coffee noted that the entrance of Pepsi will help service providers in the hospitality industry to provide choice to customers which in turns will increase
their business incomes.
“We even need more brands to come, because this will improve on service delivery of those industries and we also expect the price to go down if there is competition,” she said.
Grace Mahoro of Take Five African Cuisine said that there is always a challenge of hoteliers convincing their customers to take one brand, when customers always think that you failed to buy other brands.
“If there are many soft drinks, we can always have our choice,” Uwase queen, a customer care attendant said.
During the survey conducted in supermarkets and mini shops, only Simba and Nakumatt supermarkets stocked Pepsi’s products while a number of Hotels in Remera, Kimironko had a little stock, while others were not aware of Pepsi’s entry into the Rwandan market.