As per a report, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has released a definition for carbonated fruit beverages. Now, beverages with fruit juice quantity below 10% but not less than 5%, and 2.5% in case of lime or lemon, should be called carbonated beverage with fruit juice.
As a part of the 11th amendment of the Food Safety and Standards regulations, 2016, the notification reads that “In such cases the requirement of TSS (total soluble solids) shall not apply and the quantity of fruit juice shall be declared on the label. TSS determines the quality of fruit juice content in beverages. Before this there was no set standard that the industry had to follow, as the FSSAI guidelines on aerated beverages did not define carbonated fruit beverages.
In June, the food regulator had released a draft notification, defining carbonated fruit beverages or carbonated fruit drinks, seeking views from industry within two months. The prescribed fruit content level, however, is much higher than what the industry had asked for. Indian Beverages Association, an industry lobby that bats for beverages companies, had asked the regulator to lower the fruit juice content threshold in carbonated beverages from a minimum of 10% to a minimum of 3%.
The definition of fruit-based carbonated beverages came more than two years after PM Narendra Modi urged multinational carbonated beverages companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to mix natural fruit juice in aerated beverages to help augment fruit sales for Indian farmers. “Millions of people buy Pepsi and Coke. I have asked these companies if they can put 5% natural juice in their drinks,” Modi had said in September 2014.
BRANDS WHICH SELL CARBONATED BEVERAGES WITH FRUIT
In the past year, many beverage makers have launched such products. Coca-Cola India came out with Fanta Green Mango, a carbonated drink that has 10.4% fruit content. Rival PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt. Ltd, sells Nimbooz Masala Soda, a juice-based (5% lemon juice) aerated beverage. While Coca-Cola started piloting with Fanta Green Mango about a year after Modi’s speech, PepsiCo had launched Nimbooz Masala Soda nationally in the summer of 2015.
Both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have been working on more fruit-based carbonated beverages and were waiting for FSSAI to come out with clear guidelines. Both the companies have plans to launch more products in the category over the next few years.
However, it’s not just Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, in July home-grown Dabur India Ltd entered into the fizzy drinks market by launching a range of fruit juice-based aerated drinks under the brand—Real VOLO, which the company claims has 20-25% fruit juice content.