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PepsiCo woos Indian wallets,targets Indian palates

business Updated: Mar 20, 2013 22:42 IST
Debobrat Ghose
Debobrat Ghose
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Taking a cue from global food majors like McDonald’s that introduced the aloo-tikki burger and vegetarian variants for Indians, PepsiCo — now led by Indian-born Indra Nooyi — is looking to break into the Rs 700-cr ready-to-cook breakfast market in India with a similar push.

The company, which introduced a mango version of Slice in the country to cater to Indian tastebuds, has now launched "Nutri Poha," a spin on the common rice-flake dish consumed in central and southern India, under its global Quaker brand and also lined up a variant of the upma. It also sells Quaker Oats with Indian flavours such as masala and lemon.

PepsiCo also recently expanded its Tropicana range in India with the launch of three variants of Tropicana juices — orange, lemon and mixed fruit — in powdered form.

Multinationals like PepsiCo now have to contend with domestic entrpreneurs who are innovating in recipes and packaging to introduce local foods customised for a new age of supermarkets and busy couples.

Mother’s Recipe’s Instant Poha is available in several Indian cities, while Indore-based OK Foods has launched instant poha in cups, similar to noodles. Bangalore-based MTR has been making ready-to-cook Indian breakfast items for years.

All are out to woo a market in which the desire for healthy eating is combining with urban lifestyles in which the time and patience for home cooking are waning.

“Healthy breakfast is a fast emerging category, with year-on-year growth of 20%,” said Ankur Bisen, VP, retail at industry consulting firm Technopak.

“We have launched Quaker Nutri Poha and Upma and we’re committed to building its presence in the growing ready-to-cook breakfast space,” said Anuj Chadha of Pepsico India.

“Amidst a hectic schedule, I don’t miss the poha I used to have during my Indore MBA days, as I get readymade ones here,” says Vandana Jayakumar, an MNC executive based in Hyderabad.

“We’re targeting the quick-fix traditional dish,” said Sanjay Desai, executive director, DBL.