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May 7, 2002 | 1250 IST
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PepsiCo in juice drive, to uncork 7 Slice variants

BS Bureau

Cola giant PepsiCo is poised to make deep inroads into juice drink segment in India with seven new variants of its 'Slice' brand to be launched by June this year.

Announcing this, Subroto Chattopadhyay, functional beverages director, PepsiCo India Holdings, said the company had identified fruit juice as rapidly expanding business for PepsiCo's Indian operation.

"The fruit juice market is growing in India, backed by changing food habit. Pepsi would like to use its expertise to offer quality ready-to-drink juice in different taste, quantity and packaging throughout the year for Indian consumers. We are bringing in products that are specially flavoured to tingle Indian taste buds. We expect fruit juice business to contribute 10 per cent of PepsiCo's total turnover soon," Chattopadhyay added.

Last fiscal (January-December 2001) company clocked turnover of around Rs 30 billion. PepsiCo made extensive studies in last one year and came up with three juice drinks and four juice cocktails.

For the first time in company's history, a 'litchi' variant of Slice is being introduced. Apart from that, a guava and orange flavour is also being offered.

Four cocktails, to be launched in June in select cities, will have concoctions of peach, strawberry, orange, pineapple. Slice juice drinks would be made available in 200 ml tetrapacks, priced at Rs 10. Subsequently, these will also be made available in 250 ml returnable bottles.

Chattopadhyay said the company would be looking at the possibility of exporting food pulps and finished products in the neighboring countries.

"India offers wide variety of agro-climatic zones and large quantity of different fruits that are not available in many countries. Some countries have shown interest already and our export team is working on them," he informed.

The introduction of new Slice variants would be accompanied by multimedia campaign, which marks debut of film director Farhan Akhtar as ad film maker. It would invest significantly to bolster the Slice brand.

PepsiCo has so far invested close to Rs 1 billion in ready-to-drink juice segment where the company has two brands Tropicana and Slice. It has 14 plants in India producing fruit juice and two of them work on tetrapacks.

Pepsi is implementing good sourcing method of raw material, which implies good value for produce for Indian farmers. The company is buying litchis from Muzaffarpur, guava from Karnataka and mango from Ratnagiri.

The 20 agro-processing zones coming up in India is expected to help Pepsi source good quality raw material at affordable prices.

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