‘Pepsi may bring brands to India to counter Coke Zero’

  • Himani Chandna, Hindustan Times, NEW DELHI
  • Updated: Mar 15, 2016 11:41 IST
Vipul Prakash: Exploring options (Handout picture)

With cola wars losing fizz over health concerns, beverage giant PepsiCo has zeroed in on a new segment this summer — health drinks with low sugar content. The company’s new product, Revive, uses 30% less sugar compared to other cola products. And for the next three to five years, the focus will be on functional beverages (such as sports drinks, energy drinks, enhanced fruit drinks etc), Vipul Prakash, vice-president, beverages, PepsiCo, told HT in an interview. Excerpts:

Your plans for this summer?

While we may surprise the consumers with two more products this year, we are set to launch our first product for the year — 7UP Revive — which includes electrolytes, vitamins and uses 30% less sugar in comparison to other cola products.

Do you see competition coming from brands like Paper Boat?

Obviously they are taking a share of the beverage market, though minuscule as of now. They’ll have to scale up significantly to impact anybody. However, we should expect competition to intensify.

How you plan to counter Coke Zero?

We already have Diet Pepsi in that category. We are exploring options to bring brands such as Pepsi Max to India... But we will see.

Coca-Cola recently launched a drink during the Make In India week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked cola giants to make fruit juices to help Indian farmers. What are your plans?

Nothing in the juice category is slated for this year. However, we had launched Nimbooz Masala Soda, which includes 5% juice, much before the Prime Minister had urged. So, we are busy taking it pan-India.

The Centre has raised the excise duty and plans to impose sin tax on aerated beverages segment. Poor monsoon is also impacting rural consumption. Where do you see future growth?

It is completely up to us. External trends will keep on happening. The right product portfolio will bring growth. We must ensure that we are launching the relevant products at the right price points.

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