FMCG majors Hindustan Lever and Pepsi Foods are gearing up to enter the hot and cold beverages segment in January 2005. The joint venture between Pepsi and HLL has already started its pre-launch activities in select cities across the country, according to industry sources. To start with, the Pepsi-Lipton alliance has already begun test-marketing tea and coffee through vending machines in select markets in India.
When contacted by FE, an HLL spokesperson said: “We are closely working with Pepsi Foods on this alliance for a launch early next year. Senior teams from both HLL and Pepsi are now working on the project.” Further, he added that the HLL-Pepsi arrangement combines Lipton brand equities with Pepsi bottling, sales and distribution strengths to offer ready-to-drink teas and tea-based beverages in India.
According to the HLL spokesperson, the Pepsi-Lipton alliance will build upon the success of Pepsi Lipton Tea Partnership in the US as well as Pepsi Lipton International JV formed last year for select international markets. In India, the new alliance will target a national presence building on Pepsi’s equity in the soft drinks category,” he added.
In addition to hot beverages, the Pepsi-Lipton alliance is planning to launch iced tea and cold coffee in the next few months. On the Pepsi-Lipton alliance, a spokesperson from Pepsi Foods said, “we are very excited about the possibilities of this alliance. We would be able to offer our consumers a wide choice of beverages.”
Incidentally, Pepsi’s arch rival Coca-Cola India entered the ready-to -drink beverages category two years ago—in association with McDonald India.