Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Pepsi & Coke Wars in India

It’s cola wars of a different kind in India

New Delhi - Every summer witnesses fierce battles in India between two cola giants - Coca-Cola and Pepsi - to capture the country’s $2 billion soft drinks market. But this year the rivals have joined hands to fight not between themselves but with state governments that have either banned or mulling similar steps after charges of high pesticide content in them levelled by an environment pressure group.

And as the implications the findings of the Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) are percolating among the consumers, the Made-in-India American drinks are going off the shelves in educational institutions, government offices and other places as five state governments have already banned their sale.

The street fight

Three years have passed since the day we released our first study on pesticides. The government reduced excise duty on soft drinks in this year’s budget. The market is looking up. But the standards recommended were blocked by powerful interests in the government. The CSE team presents the inside story

Move in India to Ban Coke and Pepsi Worries Industry

NEW DELHI: A day after US officials warned of adverse consequences of the cola controversy, Pepsi on Monday said its long-term investments in India will not be affected. While maintaining that the inputs that go into making a soft drink meet the stipulated norms for pesticide residue, PepsiCo India chief Rajiv Bakshi said, "PepsiCo's long-term plans of FDI in the country has not been affected."

In a clever move Pepsi has elected a new CEO who is a woman from India. So they of course are not worried about long term investment in India.
Indian woman named new head of PepsiCo

And with a new President, will Pepsi win the Indian market it appears that way, as Coke has taken the brunt of the Pesticide campaign.

CSE rubbishes Coke's 'clean chit' claim

New Delhi, Aug 15. (UNI): The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Monday, came down heavily on Coca-Cola India for claiming that a London-based laboratory had given them a clean chit on pesticide residue in its beverage and said the companies contention was "patronising and borders on racism".

"The companies contention that only a foreign laboratory can test its products is patronising and borders on racism... The implication is that the CSE Pollution Monitoring Laboratory is not capable of testing its products and therefore, its results are wrong," CSE said.

And facing the need to expand or die, the basis of all capitalism, the Cola's won't give up on the Asian market. Despite the current pesticide scare.

Colas not to can investments
The two global soft drink giants, Pepsi and Coca Cola, today said their long-term investments plans in India remained unaffected by the pesticide controversy

The Ban Cola movement in India is all about the politics of globalization, the water wars and the entry of India into the world market as a newly industrialized capitalist economy.

“The Coke sign does not simply mean a refreshing drink: it means America got there first.” So says Humphrey McQueen in his book, “The Essence of Capitalism: The Origins of Our Future”

Activist group says cola row a waste of time

The Centre for Sanity and Balance in Public Life, launched by Kishore Asthana, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahemadabad, aims to discourage politicians, celebrities, companies and the media from wasting the country’s time and resources on issues which he says over-ride core issues bothering the country in the guise of public interest.

So what are the issues bothering this activist?

Asthana cites the Ayodhya temple issue, security in Hindu temples where stampedes kill people, the social evils of lotteries, and the use of text messages by television and mobile phone service companies to make money. Viewers taking part in SMS voting often pay six rupees per text message.

Asthana, who claims to have no love or hate for any cola company or the Centre for Science and Environment, which is waging a media battle over harmful substances in soft drinks, told Hindustan Times that he was only preaching against panic and pleading for sanity.

Eat To Live: Indians on wrong soda soapbox

We`ve seen those photos of students in India demanding the soda`s ban from school and university cafeterias, saying the India-made version contains a high level of pesticides.

We`ve read Coca-Cola`s largest plant in India has been accused of putting thousands of farmers out of work through draining off the water feeding their wells, and poisoning their land with waste sludge that Coca-Cola insists is simply fertilizer.

Accusations from India of pesticides in drinks aren`t new, and in this case are coming from states that are run by parties opposed to India`s ruling Congress party.

What is not disputed -- because it`s right out there on the label -- is the sugar content of Coca-Cola and sodas in general. The students would do better to protest against that.

Earlier this month, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition determined that slurping down an extra can of soda a day will add 15 pounds extra in weight in only one year.

The reality is that as the North American market goes flat for the Cola's they are marketing their products to the new capitalist markets in Asia and Africa. And anwsering the demand for healthy products, in North America they are pushing non-cola product.

The cola market's gone flat

It's here that you see the freshest evidence of the changing face of North America's beverage business. The Sparkler has been on the market about a month, the newest component of Pepsi's transition into a "total beverage company" -- a strategy that has produced the likes of "fitness water" and soon, bottled milkshakes, in collaboration with Ben & Jerry's. Long-time industry leader Coke is likewise developing new products and partnerships, including a line of ready-to-drink lattes with Belgian chocolatier Godiva, and a new peach-flavoured green tea with Nestea. But it is Pepsi that leads on the frontier of "total beverage" marketing -- the Pepsi Challenge has a whole new meaning.

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