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Mecca Cola expands its reach

With a new energy drink in its portfolio, Mecca Cola's ambitious expansion plan is gaining pace.

Mecca Cola, the drink launched in France in 2002 to give people an alternative to US beverages such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, unveiled a new energy drink at the 2006 Gulfood exhibition.

The drink, Mecca Power, contains only halal ingredients and is the latest addition to Mecca Cola’s rapidly expanding portfolio. “We are launching this specially here because it is the first halal energy drink in the market,” Taoufik Mathlouthi, Mecca Cola’s chairman and founder, told RNME.

“We use taurine and we have this from cows sacrificed [the Islamic way]. People usually drink everything without realising what they’re drinking, unfortunately,” he added.

Mecca Power’s launch comes just three months after Mecca Coffee appeared on the market, and is part of a strategy to develop a comprehensive portfolio of products. “Right from the beginning we started developing our range of products,” Mathlouthi said. “Six months after launching the cola we started with the flavours of apple and orange and we now have eight different flavours in carbonated soft drinks.”

There are also plans for a chain of coffee shops, according to Mathlouthi. “The coffee was launched three months ago and the idea is to launch our own coffee shops because it was my commitment from the beginning to launch Mecca Cola and also to give an alternative to the American coffee shops.”

“The first coffee shop will be in healthcare city where we have got a place that will be ready around June. The second will be in Ibn Battuta Mall. We are preparing others in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Al Ain. Before September we will open our first Mecca Burger. It’s a very quick development. In these three years, we have developed this range of products.”

But new products are not the only developments at Mecca Cola; just one week after Gulfood, the company opened a new production plant in Gaza, adding to its existing joint ventures in Morocco, Algeria, Yemen.

Mecca Cola is also expanding is also planning to launch its products in Latin America. “We are starting in Mexico,” Mathlouthi said. “We have a contract for 500 million litres for next year, which will be our main market and there are no Muslims in Mexico. I’m going to Venezuala next week where people are inviting us to start selling our Mecca Cola. Latin America is our next biggest market.”

“I’m sure if we do it the right way and if we have the right partners we can do better than the Muslim markets because Muslim markets, the main markets are very well established. They have a history. They have networks, money, everything.”

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