Santa Cruz, Bolivia

We visited a key Bolivian plant of Coca-Cola Embonor, a company we bought earlier this year that is the Coke bottler in Bolivia (and also controls most of Chile outside of Santiago). Business is progressing well for Embonor in Bolivia, as per capita consumption of Coke products continues to grow. In fact, this facility is currently doubling its cold fill capacity and is adding a Tetra Pak hot fill line to introduce a new branded juice.

Santa Cruz is Coca Cola Embonor’s largest territory by land size in Bolivia.
Freshly-squeezed juice is very popular in Bolivia, and it remains a meaningful competitor to bottled products. Unsweetened lemonade was especially popular, as were a number of other citrus fruits. This is a curbside cart in downtown Santa Cruz.

Other Observations from Santa Cruz

  • Our previous trips have shown that Nestle executes well in the emerging markets. This excellence was also the case in Lima, as the D’Anafria brand was widely available and their freezers were prevalent in the mom-and-pop stores.
Notice the D’Anafria freezer in the front of the store – this was a common sight in many mom-and-pop stores.
Gloria is a privately held business in Peru that has a significant dairy brand (the company also owns the Pil brand in Bolivia – seen in some of the pictures below). Note the licensing deal with the Chips Ahoy brand.”
  • Private “buses” are an important mode of low-cost transportation in both Peru and Bolivia. It consists of almost-always-packed micro-buses (that are really large vans) with a driver and a porter that hangs out of the window calling stops for passengers and prospective pick-ups. It is a hectic system and hard to discern from the outside, but its efficiency and cost effectiveness versus other alternatives makes it vital for a big percentage of the population.
Porter is hanging out of the side window of one of the private buses. It is a not a safety-first job.
  • We encountered several open air cafeterias while in Bolivia, including this one in downtown Santa Cruz. It was composed of two dozen or more distinct booths (around 15 feet long by 8 foot deep “kitchens” surrounded by counter seating) that seemed largely undifferentiated to the untrained eye, and certainly did not have unique branding of any sort. Yet, it was clear that people had their favorite restaurant, and there appeared to be regulars for many of them.
This open air cafeteria was hot on an unseasonably warm 100-degree spring afternoon, but it had good traffic even though we visited between the typical breakfast and lunch times.
Along the edges of this particular cafeteria were mom-and-pop stalls selling various consumer staples and consumables. Some displays were in good order, while others were more haphazard.
  • Like in many town squares in Latin America, Catholic cathedrals and churches dominated the downtown square in Santa Cruz. The traffic was steady in most, and we experienced a particular touching scene when what appeared to be a mother praying alongside her disabled son.
In the Cathedral de Santa Cruz…