PepsiCo is extending its mango drink brand Slice into the carbonated fruit drinks segment to take on low-priced regional brands. “We have plans to introduce a range of carbonated fruit drinks in local flavours under the Slice brand in the next few weeks,” a PepsiCo spokesperson said.
The Slice carbonated drinks will be priced about 30% cheaper than PepsiCo’s existing range of juices and aerated drinks. They will be sold in 250 ml PET packs.
Slice, which competes with rival Coca-Cola’s Maaza and Parle Agro’s Frooti in the mango drink segment, will continue to exist in its original variant.
“We have also started adding fruit juice in carbonated beverages in line with a request from Prime Minister Modi to the beverage industry,” the company spokesperson said. Modi had urged cola companies to blend aerated drinks with 5% juice from fruits produced by farmers three years ago.
Industry insiders said the latest PepsiCo move in response to the increasing threat that cola majors Coca-Cola and PepsiCo face from low-priced regional brands. More than 200 B-brands, or regional brands, account for well over 15% share of the estimated j22,000-crore soft drink category.
Most of these brands bet on distribution in smaller markets with direct reach to retailers, prices at almost half that charged by the multinationals, and limited spend on marketing and advertising. Popular regional brands include Bovonto in Tamil Nadu, Alwar-based Jayanti Cola, and Hajoori & Sons, which sells Sosyo, Ginlim and Lemee in select pockets of the north.