Are you ready for the Magic?
A year ago, India had splashed onto the global stage with its first World Cup victory in Cricket. And now another biggie of the global arena was getting ready to splash into India. In December 1984, a national daily for the fist time reported of PepsiCo’s plans to come to India.
It was a sticky wicket…
The early days came with a number of hurdles. In a pre-91 era, foreign brands were not in favour in the country. PepsiCo saw an opportunity in investing in the agro-based economy of Punjab. On 6th June 1986, the company entered into a JV with Punjab Agro Industries Corporation and Voltas for application to set up its first plant in Punjab.
A nationwide debate ensued…
Over the next two years, cabinet meetings were called, the Parliament raised questions and the debate sprang up everywhere, from family dining tables to national dailies. While farmers in Punjab were welcoming the move, the battle with the government was yet to be won.
On 28th September 1988, more than 2 years and half a dozen cabinet meetings later, the government officially sanctioned PepsiCo’s entry into the Indian market. It had been 11 years since the last soft drink major, Coca-Cola, had exited the country.
The early days
Ramesh Vangal was appointed as the first CEO of PepsiCo in India. He built a young and dynamic team responsible for establishing the company in the Indian market and right into Indian hearts.
5 years after the first speculations of PepsiCo’s India plans, the company launched its first plant at Channo in Punjab.
The first plant of Frito-Lay’s, PepsiCo’s Foods business, began operations in Channo.
Did you know…
Pepsi was originally called ‘Pepsi Era’. But the government was keen on a more “Indian” brand name. Several options were put up for discussion and it was a matter eventually settled by the Union Cabinet. For the first time in the history of the country, and probably only time ever since, the name of a brand was actually finalised during a cabinet meeting. And ‘Lehar Pepsi’ was born!
First bottles of Pepsi were rolled out to the Indian market, as ‘Lehar Pepsi’.
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Sanjeev Chadha took over the reigns of the company. Under his leadership, PepsiCo India achieved region status for the first time in the PepsiCo system.
PepsiCo India achieved the significant milestone of becoming the first business to achieve “Positive Water Balance” in the beverage world. The company has been Water Positive since then.
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