According to an unnamed source in the company, the product is expected to be launched as early as next year and may cost just one or two rupees per drink, though a decision on the packaging is supposedly still pending. “The aim is to reduce incidence of anaemia among women in rural India by 20% by 2020,” the source said. Research and development of the product is apparently being carried out in India and the US.
Pepsico, formed after the merger of Pepsi-Cola and Frito-Lay in 1965, has been stepping up its accent on health and wellness, expanding its product portfolio with healthier choices such as Pepsi Raw – the cola drink made from natural ingredients, first launched in the UK. But the premium pricing formula for the drink may not allow the company to bring it to India, where the market for carbonated drinks is tiny compared to the west.
The name Pepsi itself is derived from ‘pepsin’, the enzyme that helps in digestion. North Carolina pharmacist Caleb Bradhan had invented the drink in the 1890s and had marketed it as a digestive syrup, but it was much later that the cola became a ‘cool’ drink.
According to various estimates, nearly 70% of all expectant mothers in India suffer from iron deficiency, and 15-30% of maternal deaths in the country are linked to this.
“The company is working towards making the anti-anaemia drink viable by reducing the cost on packaging and distribution,” the source said, indicating the possibility of the drink being distributed through local health centres.
Source: The Economic Times
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