We will soon be getting our hands on a few non-cola aerated beverages with fruit juices that will be launched by Coca-cola India and PepsiCo next year if the country’s Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) finalizes guidelines for the category, according to reports. Fanta Green Mango is the only such product available in India which is a carbonated beverage that has 10.4% fruit content. Rival PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt. Ltd, the local arm of American food and beverages company PepsiCo Inc, which sells Nimbooz Masala Soda, a juice-based (5% lemon juice) aerated beverage, is also working on new products in the category. “Over the past few years, we have been working to expand our beverage portfolio and the initiative to bring in more offerings with fruit juice in carbonated drinks is in line with this strategy,” said a spokesperson at PepsiCo India, to Hospitality Biz India.Coca-Cola India started piloting the product at the start of the year, more than a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged multinational carbonated beverages companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to mix natural fruit juice (at least 5%) in aerated beverages to help augment fruit sales for Indian farmers. PepsiCo, on the other hand, launched Nimbooz Masala Soda nationally in the summer of 2015.”We are waiting for the guidelines. The industry is working with FSSAI on this. The draft of the guidelines is already in circulation. Once we have the final guidelines, we’ll be able to decide on such products. We are definitely working on this platform. These will be developed and sold in India,” said Venkatesh Kini, President, Coca-Cola (India and south-west Asia). Kini declining to reveal details on which brands would have the products.”We are committed to indigenizing our fruit-sourcing footprint in India and helping drive forward the government’s agenda of blending fruit juice in carbonated drinks. As part of the industry, we have been working with FSSAI to introduce enabling standards for carbonated fruit beverages. The draft of such standards has already been circulated by FSSAI. We also look forward to a conducive tax rate that will help give greater impetus to industry to innovate, thereby unlocking the potential of this category,” said the PepsiCo India spokesperson.At present, FSSAI guidelines on aerated beverages do not define carbonated fruit beverages and there are no standards that the industry can follow. Last month, the food regulator released a draft notification, defining ‘carbonated fruit beverages or carbonated fruit drinks’. Juice content in these beverages will be below 10% but not less than 5% (in case of lime and lemon juice, it should be above 2.5%). The regulator has sought views from industry within two months.This comes as Cola companies have, in recent years, seen sales of aerated beverages being impacted as offtake of juices and fruit-based drinks has grown at a brisk pace. In 2015, juices saw a volume growth of 20.06% and a value growth of 25.78% over the previous year. Fizzy drinks, in the same period, grew 8.42% by volume and 10.82% by value, according to market research firm Euromonitor International.
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