March 30, 2011 | The Economic Times

Pepsi-Tata JV to launch glucose beverage

NEW DELHI | MUMBAI: PepsiCo India's joint venture with Tata Global Beverages is set to launch a glucose-based beverage next week. 'Lehar Gluco Plus' , a lemon-flavoured , noncarbonated drink, will be rolled out in pockets of Maharashtra through a pilot project and will be priced at Rs 5.
 
"We are creating a new category with this product in the affordable packaged beverage space. The product works like an instant re-charger ," said Geetu Verma, PepsiCo India executive director (innovation).
 
The beverage is being brought under PepsiCo's Lehar umbrella label. It will be the second product after Himalayan packaged water to be manufactured and marketed under the 50:50 joint venture NourishCo Beverages Ltd. India's health and wellness segment is seen touching 55,000 crore by financial year 2015, up from the current Rs 10,150 crore, according to a report by management consulting firm Tata Strategic Management Group. PepsiCo has an alliance with Unilever under which it sells Lipton ice tea, but the firm has maintained that both JVs will not overlap. PepsiCo Tata JV CEO Punita Lal told ET that plans were underway to roll out more health and wellness beverages this year.
 
"We are looking to unlock the value segment in the mass hydration space. It is a very large opportunity," she said. Lal said the JV was exploring options across categories for healthier beverages, but did not give details. PepsiCo and Tata had signed an MoU last April to set up the joint venture for non-aerated beverages. The JV seeks to leverage the Tata brand and expertise in low-cost consumer products and couple it with PepsiCo's distribution muscle, go-to-market expertise and R&D strength.
 
Gluco Plus will target segment B and C consumers , which according to Verma, has a base of 600-700 million. Through the alliance, PepsiCo hopes to be seen as a wholesome beverages company while Tata Global Beverages gets a larger foothold in the segment . Although Tata Global Beverages has acquired Tetley, Eight O'clock Coffee and Good Earth, its wellness and health beverages portfolio in India is limited to Himalayan packaged water and Tion.

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