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Pepsi to test market Gatorade; plans launch of bottled ice tea

14-August-2004
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Pepsi to test market Gatorade; plans launch of bottled ice tea

Soft drink giant, PepsiCo, has prepared a blueprint for future growth in India. This involves test marketing its $2-billion sports drink brand Gatorade and expanding the non-carbonated beverages portfolio by launching bottled ice tea.

"We plan to introduce Gatorade in India. It is a totally new concept and we want to test market it here till the end of this year before taking a final decision on it," the Chairman of PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt Ltd, Mr Rajeev Bakshi, told Business Line.

While he declined to divulge the pricing of Gatorade, Mr Bakshi said the drink would be available in non-returnable bottles of half-a-litre, not in the 200 ml and 300 ml glass bottles meant for soft drinks.

Gatorade, claimed to be scientifically formulated to replace fluids and electrolytes and provide energy to enhance athletic performance, is sold as a sports drink in several variations across the world. Initially, PepsiCo India plans to import the drink and is expected to use the distribution channel of juice brand Tropicana for Gatorade, industry sources said. It could be priced around Rs 40 per litre, they added.

Meanwhile, Mr Bakshi also said PepsiCo was planning to get into bottling and marketing Lipton ice tea next year but added that beverages like tea and coffee were not part of PepsiCo's core business in India.

"We have a current arrangement with Hindustan Lever Ltd where the hot beverages are available on demand through vending machines but this is not our core business. We are only present in these categories to complete the beverage portfolio and be able to offer all kinds of beverage solutions to our consumers. But ice tea will be a different model; it will be launched through our own distribution system," he said.

At present, Lipton ice tea is being sold in cartons but PepsiCo plans to bottle the beverage in several pack sizes, including 200 ml and 300 ml glass bottles as well as PET bottles across the country, using the existing bottling facilities of fruit drink Slice.

Again, while Mr Bakshi did not talk about the pricing of Lipton ice tea, industry sources said a 300-ml glass bottle could be priced between Rs 8-10.

Earlier this year, HLL and PepsiCo formed an alliance to distribute Lipton ready-to-drink (RTD) tea and tea-based hot beverages in India. Industry sources said apart from ice tea, PepsiCo is also looking at a slew of products, including green tea, herbal tea and diet tea.

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