Muslims in Mumbai are protesting Israel’s military operation in Gaza and look who’s feeling the heat — Foreign food and drink companies such as PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Nestle and Kraft.
Hotels in Muslim-dominated Bhendi Bazaar area, for instance, such as the Shalimar Hotel, have put up a list of brands that won’t be served. Other eateries in the area, too, have stopped selling soft drinks of Coke and Pepsi.
Hotel owners who met at Shalimar Hotel earlier this month were unanimous that the boycott was an effective weapon against the Israeli strike. “We are feeling helpless that innocent people are dying. They will relent only when you attack their economic interests,” a hotelier said.
Interestingly, none of the brands that face boycott are from Israel. For instance, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are American brands. But the view is that the US is not doing enough to end the conflict and hence American brands are not being used.
Coca-Cola said it doesn’t favour any individual country or religious cause and wants to see peace in West Asia and elsewhere. “The Coca-Cola Company has a practice of operating as a local business in every market it serves.. Given the local nature of the Coca-Cola business, we believe that these type of actions primarily hurt the local economy, businesses and citizens,” a spokesperson said.
A spokesperson for Mondelez International did not offer comments. Pepsi and Nestle didn’t reply to emails seeking comments.
Analysts say the companies won’t be affected as long as the boycott is not widespread.