The International Herald–Tribune today has an article on how the big three soft drink makers—Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Cadbury Schweppes—have 80 per cent of the world’s market sewn up. Independents can’t really compete, particularly in developing countries where companies like Coke actually help build the infrastructure to get its product to people, and where antitrust laws aren’t strong.
I realize this talk is early, but when some of these nations have a stronger virtual structure, which will creep up more quickly than a physical one, then open source soft drinks could be a way to go. Have just enough standardization out there, but permit others to produce the drink, to compete with the conﬁdentiality that surrounds Coke’s formula. Transparency trumping secrecy: not a bad model to spread around the world.
This is not a new idea. The Danes have open source beer, Vores Øl, uses a traditional formula injected with guarana. The recipe is published under the Creative Commons licence: anyone can make their own.
But one that can take place right now are open source fries. In New Zealand, McDonald’s has made some play on its claim that it sells the country’s favourite fries. But I prefer the fries I make, which aren’t too dissimilar from those at my local ﬁsh and chip shop. The only problem: the individual ﬁsh and chip shops around the country are hardly united and most aren’t branded, so even if they coincidentally used the same recipe for their fries, who’ll know? No brand encompasses them all.
Therefore, go open source. Have a published recipe and a brand, and allow all to use that brand freely. Kiwichips. Kiwifries. Whatever. But make them a little distinctive—maybe create a unique seasoning.
They will have an immediate number of distribution outlets, and it would be a great experiment in seeing if individuals can take on major corporations. I am not dissing McDonald’s (this time)—I have an academic interest in seeing if this works.
It is the sort of thing that can take place in countries like New Zealand, which have a healthy level of entrepreneurial activity and enough balls to carry it out. It also ﬁts with the generosity of spirit New Zealanders have. Any takers?
Del.icio.us tags: open source | New Zealand Posted by Jack Yan, 05:25
I think the peruvian company Ajegroup is a perfect example of your
point. They are fighting Coke and Pepsi based on a low cost strategy
and it seems that brand loyalty was not as important in developing
countries and they now have a good share of the market (5%) of
the Mexican market. Mexico has the 2nd largetst market for soft
drinks (U.S. is number one). Coke tried to block Big Cola's
(ironic name for Ajegroup's product) distribution by making even corner
shops sign exclusivity agreements in return of certain promotional
materials.; Mexican antitrust authorities have just ruled against
A ruling by
Mexican market regulators
upholding a shopkeeper’s right to sell Big Cola alongside leading Cola
brands was a further coup for the aspiring Peruvian brand as it
continues to expand in Latin America.
Poncho, thank you for your comment. I’m glad to hear a report from the region—and to know that these oligopolies and monopolies can be broken by the “little guy”, if marketed wisely. I’m also glad to hear the antitrust authorities have had the good sense to act, too.Post a Comment
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