PepsiCo’s recently-released extension of its namesake CSD in China highlights the growing trend among consumers towards more locally-sourced beverages, a trend heightened by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
According to GlobalData’s COVID-19 tracker consumer survey, as of week nine – published yesterday – 79% of Chinese consumers in lockdown claimed that they find local products “somewhat or completely trustworthy”. This has remained stable across the lockdown period, with week one results standing at 78%, and has been consistently higher than the global average, which registered 73% in week one and 76% in week nine.
Subsequently, there is an identifiable opportunity for manufacturers to localise products to gain consumer trust – especially in China.
As the need for creative innovation to rise above competitors intensifies, companies like PepsiCo are looking to localisation to spark interest from consumers. The company’s new local-flavoured beverage, which utilises the regionally-famous Osmanthus extracted from a flower native to China, not only appeals to consumers interested in trying new flavours but also ensures the trust of Chinese consumers. This is because the majority of consumers in the country value local ingredients more than international flavours and are therefore more likely to buy local products in many FMCG categories.
Although this is PepsiCo’s first trial of a localised strategy in China, this is not a new move for the group, which is confident in the drink’s potential success. The company experienced success for localisation last year in Japan, when Pepsi Japan Cola, which contains Japanese citrus fruit yuzu, was widely accepted by the locals.
Looking forward, PepsiCo’s plan to continue with partnerships in China, such as its recent tie-up with regional snack manufacturer Be & Cheery, highlights the importance of localisation. This is a vital strategy for international drinks companies to adopt as consumers become more concerned about a product’s source as well as its manufacturing process.
More importantly, localism proves to be an opportunity to maintain consumers’ trust in the longer term.