Heineken has owned Coca-Cola franchises in Central Africa since 1958

Heineken has owned Coca-Cola franchises in Central Africa since 1958

The head of Heineken's Africa unit has said it expects its Coca-Cola Co franchises in the region to double volumes by 2020 as they take advantage of the same demographics boosting beer. 

Siep Hiemstra told just-drinks yesterday (19 June) that the brewer, which operates long-standing Coca-Cola bottlers in Central Africa, is testing new flavours and packaging sizes for soft drinks to capture trends of rising incomes and movement to cities. The innovations mirror those of Heineken's brewing unit in Africa, which is using smaller bottle sizes and a widening portfolio to attract African consumers.

“The dynamics we speak about in beer - a high GDP and people moving into the city - all these elements are not exclusive for Heineken. It is also what Coca-Cola depends on,” Hiemstra said “So when you bring (beer and soft drinks) together it works.”

Hiemstra was speaking ahead of an analyst conference in London yesterday where he revealed Heineken's plans to double Coca-Cola volumes in six years.

The brewer has had a long partnership with the US soft drinks maker in Central Africa. It took on its first Coca-Cola franchise in La Réunion in 1958, before adding Burundi in 1966, Rwanda in 1974 and both the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo in 1994.

Hiemstra told just-drinks: “(The franchises are) something we feel strongly about but have never really talked about.”

He also said the franchises bring consumers in to the brewer's network at a younger age. “In Heineken we pick consumers up at the legal drinking age,” he said. “In Coca-Cola we pick them up far earlier.”

The full interview with Hiemstra will appear on just-drinks next week, including his views on Heineken's Champions League sponsorship in Africa and how the company deals with the continent’s logistical challenges. To read an interview with Heineken's Asia-Pacific head, click here.