By Odunewu Segun
In recent times, La Casera Apple Brand, an apple drink with real apple juice concentrate from the stables of LaCasera Company Plc, has dominated the carbonated apple flavoured drink, however, the recent introduction of another direct competitor into the market seems to have taken La Casera unawares, National Daily has learnt.
The new product, Bigi Apple drink, has shown that it has all it takes to challenge the dominance of La Casera in the apple drink segment.
Carbonated soft drinks made an entrance into the Nigerian market in 1951 as products of the Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd, a subsidiary of the A.G Leventis Group with the franchise to bottle and sell products of Coca-Cola Company in Nigeria.
This leadership position remained unchallenged until 1960 when Seven-up Bottling Company commenced operations in Nigeria. Since then, the carbonated soft drinks market has been dominated by these two heavyweights and their brands have been big hits with consumers.
According to findings by National Daily, Bigi Apple, from the stables of Rite Foods Ltd, started production in 2007 as part of the Ess-Ay Holdings Group.
The company started from a photography business and later grew to become one of the first fully-equipped colour laboratories in Nigeria by 1978.
In the mid-2000s, the group diversified into the FMCG sector with the birth of Rite Foods Limited. However, a message sent to the company yielded no response.
Currently, the company produces many consumer products such as the Bigi sausage roll, table water, and carbonated drinks of different flavours. The company currently has 11 different consumer products on its list.
Bigi Apple has garnered patronage from consumers, owing to the fact that the product comes in a bigger 600ml (60cl) PET plastic bottle and costs N100.
Owing to this, La Casera’s Pet bottle was changed from 50cl to 60cl, at the same cost of N100 which many describe as pocket-friendly.
Consumer preference is mostly influenced by taste appeal and brand loyalty. Many of consumers said that La Casera Apple has been able to sustain its unique taste over the years but wondered why the drink’s visibility has reduced.
Consumers who spoke with National Daily, also acknowledge that Bigi Apple seems to be dominating the Lagos market. They advised that La Casera must act fast before Bigi gains more visibility in other parts of the country.
Consumers believe that the major drivers of the market are the prices and sizes of the plastic bottles, which most times translate into increased content.