The Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi has come up with an interesting solution to help the country’s farmers. He has recommended that soft drink giants like Pepsi and Coca Cola should add fruit juice to their fizzy drinks. Speaking at a function, Mr. Modi said multinational cola giants PepsiCo and Coca-Cola should help augment fruit sales for Indian farmers by adding fresh fruit juices to their carbonated drinks,
“Millions of people buy Pepsi and Coke. I have asked these companies if they can put five percent natural juice in their drinks,”
Coke and Pepsi categorically mention on the labels of their drinks that they do not mix any fruit juice or pulp to their soft drinks. But adding merely 5 percent, shouldn’t alter the appeal of these soft-drinks, which are readily consumed by Indian citizens. The primary intention of Mr. Narendra Modi behind appealing to these companies is to curtail the wastage of fruit. Explaining the same, he said,
“If they can, then our farmers will make a lot of money. Our farmers will not have to throw their fruit away.”
Incidentally, he was giving a speech after inaugurating a food park with a storage capacity of more than 20,000 tons for two dozen food processing companies, reported Reuters. In a twisted reality, majority of the fruits produced in India are pushed into foreign markets, mainly the Middle East, which has no produce of its own. Needless to say, this drives up prices of fruits in India and its own citizens do not get to eat the fruits that grow in their country. It will surely be interesting to see how adding 5 percent to fizzy drinks will alter the economy and help curtail the rampant wastage.
The U.S.-beverage companies have earlier openly stated that they are committed to expanding their presence in Asia’s third-largest economy where a growing middle class has more to spend on processed beverages and food. PepsiCo, the maker of Pepsi-Cola, Frito-Lay snacks and Tropicana juice last year, said it had plans to invest $5.5 billion in India. Coca-Cola Co has already allocated $5 billion in 2012 for investments in Indian market by 2020.
As these companies are quite eager to exploit the Indian middle class, Mr. Narendra Modi is urging them to further utilize the fruit produce of the country. However, it is still not clear as to why, despite having 6,500 cold storage facilities throughout the country, India isn’t able to reduce wastage and ensure more fruit is available for its citizens.
[Image Credit | India Post, AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi]