Following the governments suggestion that fizzy drinks should have reduced sugar, PepsiCo’s 7UP is the first Indian fizzy beverage to take that initiative forward by adding stevia to their drinks. Stevia is a plant-based sweetener and was approved by the FSSAI for carbonated beverages across the country. But this big step is not only just in India, it is also the first time stevia is being used in 7UP anywhere in the world.
When talking about this, PepsiCo’s Vice President for beverages Vipul Prakash told Economic Times, “If we want to make a meaningful change to our portfolio, we will have to do it two-fold — one is to introduce new choices, and second make the existing portfolio healthier. This is our first and very important move forward in making our existing core range healthier.” All over the world, sugar has become an issue for brands and it is considered to be most responsible for increasing levels of obesity in children and adults.
In India, there is the fat tax and in England, they are adding a similar tax because of the growing number of obese children. Obesity isn’t the only problem. Diabetes is on the rise in India and the copious amounts of sugar being used in foods and drinks is what is making the disease worse. What stevia does is reduce the amount of sugar in the drink. According to ET, locally made diet sodas use aspartame, which is a synthetic sweetener and has caught the attention of many activists in the country. While the diet soda market is smaller, it is still an issue.
Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico, had told investors in April that the company was “future-proofing its product portfolio, reshaping it to capitalise on consumers’ increasing interest in health and wellness”. This is definitely a big and positive first step in the right direction.