Pepsi is focusing on hydration drinks and Quaker oats to appeal to health-conscious urban Indians

Health is wealth.
Health is wealth.
Image: AP Photo/Seth Perlman
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PepsiCo India is going healthy.

In response to the growing local appetite for more nutritious options, the food and beverage giant plans to launch new products in India under its juice brand Tropicana and packaged food brand Quaker.

“Due to (a) change in lifestyle, income patterns, demographic shifts, (and) stressed urban lifestyles, people are looking for healthy nutritious food which can be prepared quickly,” D Shivakumar, PepsiCo India’s chief executive, told the Business Standard newspaper (paywall) on Jan. 25. “That’s the need we have identified. So, our initiatives towards (a) healthier portfolio are to address this market.”

This comes at a time when food and beverage companies around the world are reviewing their product offerings, especially those items laden with calories and sugar, amid growing health concerns voiced by governments and consumers. In India, too, the government has been urging cola companies to go easy on the sugar in their beverages. PepsiCo India has promised to do so by 2025.

As the growing threat of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension have prompted more Indian consumers to ditch high-calorie foods and drinks, the way that companies like PepsiCo, Nestle and Coca-Cola do business is rapidly changing. The health and wellness market in India is estimated at Rs33,000 crore, according to research agency Nielsen, and that presents a huge alternate opportunity.

PepsiCo India is already making big strides in this direction with an expanded range under its oats brand Quaker. And in August, 2016, the company said it would test-market a low-calorie version of its lemon-flavoured soda 7Up in Gujarat. If successful, India could become the first market in the world to get a stevia-based version of the drink with 30% less sugar.