Unilever brings India’s largest coffee brand Bru to Sri Lanka

Tuesday, 15 February 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Cassandra Mascarenhas

Although tea remains an age-old tradition in Sri Lanka, coffee has slowly encroached upon the evolving middle class society and the emerging youth as a new lifestyle and the launch of India’s largest coffee brand ‘Bru Instant Coffee’ in Sri Lanka yesterday will cater to this growing market segment.

Unilever Sri Lanka first introduced the product into the market via vending service operations at public and sporting events, snack bars and various institutions 2009.

The massively positive response from consumers and increasing requests to enable in-home consumption brought about the introduction of the aromatic coffee to Sri Lankan households this year. Tea will remain the main beverage that Sri Lankans will turn to in time to come but coffee as a different product offers a unique experience vastly differing from the conventional drink.

“As the market leader of tea-based products in the country with Lipton, Ceylonta and Laojee, the launch of this product is a natural extension in terms of beverages and we have more plans to introduce further products to our valued consumers in the near future as well,” said Unilever’s Marketing Director of Homecare and Foods, Asanga Ranasinghe.

“We look to grow the category, not to gain shares from competitors and there is no doubt that Bru will perform successfully in the market and Unilever looks forward to being the market leader in coffee in time,” he added.

Launched amidst great fanfare in the presence of many noted chefs from several top restaurants in Colombo, the experience was made truly memorable with a performance by the singing chef Don Sherman. The first Bru Café has also been opened at the Arpico Super Centre in Wattala serving a range of coffees in innovative varieties and flavours in order to provide a rich, new coffee experience to all Sri Lankans. It will be available at all leading supermarkets across the island and the North and East according to Unilever will prove to be an important market segment as the area is heavily influenced by Indian media.

The instant coffee mix will open new ways of interacting with the fast growing consumer segment, fitting in very well with the consumer trend. Independent research conducted by Unilever has shown positive feedback and encouraging consumer demand and although 10 to 15 per cent more expensive than other popular brands of coffee in the market, the ready to drink coffee is slated to gain popularity in the market.

Bru Coffee has also performed surprisingly well in India and is especially strong in South India. India is also primarily a tea drinking country therefore encouraging the consumption of coffee amongst the public initially proved to be a task but it is now well-established culture and this bodes well in terms of Sri Lankan consumption.

As Unilever Sri Lanka’s first product launch for this year, it is an initiative by the company to add vitality to the lives of Sri Lankans. With a presence of over 70 years in the country and as market leader in all product categories it’s currently involved in, Unilever also boasts a record of having over 95% of their products made locally. Unilever is also committed to installing a long-term base in the country and will soon be constructing a technologically superior factory in Sri Lanka which would add value in terms of employment, its environmental footprint and cutting-edge technology.