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How it all started

1984

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.

1986

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.

1986

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.

1988

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.

Some of the earliest documentations of PepsiCo's entry into India

1989

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.

1990

The first plant of Frito-Lay’s, PepsiCo’s Foods business, began operations in Channo.

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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!

1990

First bottles of Pepsi were rolled out to the Indian market, as ‘Lehar Pepsi’.

1990

Lehar Pepsi rolled out to the Indian market.

1990

The original cool dude is here

1991

Mirinda brings its brands of madness to India

1993

Slice, the refreshing mango drink from PepsiCo

1993

Diet Pepsi launched

1995

World’s largest and favourite snack brand, Lay’s comes to India

1995

Cheetos launched

1999

PepsiCo launches the Indian snack with a ‘twist’

1999

Aquafina launched

2000

Frito-Lay’s India acquires Uncle Chipps

2003

PepsiCo proposes to ‘Do the Dew’

2004

PepsiCo brings the Tropicana range of juices to India

2004

Gatorade launched

2006

It’s the battle of the Oats — PepsiCo launches Quaker Oats

2007

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.

2009

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.

2009

7UP Nimbooz

2011

Lipton Ice Tea launched in JV with Unilever

2012

7UP Nimbooz Masala Soda launched

2015

Celebrates 25 years of operations in India

People who made the brand

CEOs OVER
THE YEARS

1989

PepsiCo is etched in my heart. I’ve never fought for something as much, or believed in anything else as much or had as much passion for anything before or after. The odds facing us were huge with Government, press and powerful lobbies stacked against us. What made it work was the remarkable young team that I had the opportunity to be a part of.
1989 — 1993

Ramesh Vangal

CEO — Beverages

Currently

Founder & Chairman, The Katra Group

The man who brought PepsiCo to India.

When PepsiCo made its foray into India in 1985, there was an incredible man at the helm who was tasked with the challenge of establishing PepsiCo in the country. India at the time did not welcome foreign participation in the economy and, in particular, it was closed to foreign direct investment in consumer goods. This man’s strong belief in PepsiCo and the value of liberalisation, together with dogged determination, made it happen.

View full bio…

1994

Pepsi is not about history. Pepsi is about every generation coming and writing their own history. You have to run a tight operation and remain competitive in the marketplace — both in terms of consumer acceptance and cost structure. Do what is right as opposed to doing what fits the corporate strategy
1994 — 1998

Prem Kumar

CEO — Foods

Led the first growth curve for PepsiCo’s Foods business in India with a refurbished business model and launch of the company’s biggest Food brand in India - Lay’s.

Prem Kumar was brought in as CEO to provide a new lease of life to the Foods business. In the first phase of this transition, Kumar set out to tackle challenges of pricing, distribution, packaging and supply chain by refurbishing the entire business model. With a strong focus on being cost competitive while maintaining superior quality and a balanced supply chain, he established a robust foundation to build the business on.

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1993

PepsiCo is one of the finest companies to work in, and practices TOTAL integrity and honesty. It believes in best R&D and innovation, and is committed to launching healthy food products and beverages. I enjoyed my ten years in PepsiCo, especially as they were the initial years of Pepsi’s entry into India.
1993 — 2002

PM Sinha

CEO — Beverages

Spearheaded some of the biggest transitions in PepsiCo’s business model in India — from the launch of company-owned bottling operations to combating the entry of PepsiCo’s biggest rival — Coca-Cola.

PM Sinha led the company through some of the most exciting years of the business. Coca-Cola had just entered the market and competitive spirit was at an all-time high. From seven percent market share in 1992, Sinha built the business to a 49.7 percent market share by 2001, starting with the “COBO-isation” of its bottling operations…

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2002

One thing about PepsiCo is that it changes every year — there are structural changes and people changes and so on. That injects dynamism in the company and I think that is what keeps it going. I strongly hope that it stays the same. 25 years have been the formative years of Pepsi in India. The people who have built it up have clearly worked very hard and I pay tribute to all of them for doing such a wonderful job!
2002 — 2006

Rajeev Bakshi

CEO — Beverages

Currently

Managing Director and Vice President, METRO Cash and Carry India Pvt. Ltd.

A firm believer in staying ahead of times, Rajeev initiated change and challenged competition with the expansion of the Tropicana portfolio, followed by the launch of Mountain Dew and Gatorade to respond to the changing customer needs.

Rajeev Bakshi joined PepsiCo at a time when the business was witnessing many changes — from the transition to non-returnable glass bottles as opposed to the traditionally strong RGBs to the growing demand for fruit juices and other non-carbonated drinks.

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2007

Things became really exciting, when Coke entered the market in 1993 and soon after announced the buyout of the Parle brand, and the marketplace became a ‘no holds barred’ battlefield. We put together a response plan, stepped up investments, began company-owned bottling operations and gave massive support to our bottlers; all this transformed the trajectory of the business.
2007 — 2010

Gautham Mukkavilli

CEO — Foods

A result-oriented strategic leader, Gautham led the Foods business through one of its most competitive phases.

Back in 1991, when Gautham began this journey in the Indian Beverages business, he was part of the core team that was pivotal in launching and laying the foundation of PepsiCo’s business in India. After a global stint in the South East Asian markets of Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, Gautham returned to India in 2007 to steer the PepsiCo India Foods business.

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2007 — 2010

Sanjeev Chadha

Chairman & CEO, PepsiCo India

Currently

CEO, PepsiCo AMEA

2013

As a large-scale organisation with a wide representation across the country, PepsiCo needs to be propelled in the right direction. I look forward to the challenge of building some great brands. One of the biggest challenges is also to build sustainable growth not only by growing top-line numbers and by growing people but also by adhering to the society and taking care of the planet, not just temporarily but also in the long term.
Dec 2013 onwards

D Shivakumar

Chairman & CEO, PepsiCo India

One of the country’s most respected business leaders, Shiv heads PepsiCo’s integrated Power of One (Po1) organisation in India and neighbouring countries Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

The key for a successful organisation according to Shiv is to focus on the consumer rather than the competition, which helps the organisation realise its long-term strategy while taking into account capabilities similar to competition that can give it that edge in the marketplace.

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Performance with purpose

As one of the first international companies to enter the country, PepsiCo worked closely with farmers right from the beginning, investing in the agro-based food processing industry of Punjab. It began with a promise and evolved into a culture which is today aptly encapsulated in the company’s vision – ‘Performance with Purpose’. Click on the video below to learn more.

Bottling Partners

Building the Pepsi brand in India would not have been possible without the partners who have been an integral part of PepsiCo’s journey in India. Of all the partners who have helped build the PepsiCo brand in India, the bottling partners, especially, have proven to be the pillars on which the business rests—they are the ones who make the PepsiCo brands available to the consumers day after day, route after route, and shop after shop. From bottling and packaging the soft drinks to managing the logistics and distribution or collecting the reusable glass bottles, their legacy is invaluable. Of the 43 bottling plants of PepsiCo in India, 15 are company-owned and 28 are franchisee-owned.

Ravi Jaipuria

Chairman and Managing Director, Varun Beverages Limited

Ravi Jaipuria’s association with PepsiCo began way back in 1991, when he was entrusted with the Agra plant from where PepsiCo began its initial phase in India. He has partnered PepsiCo’s growth by expanding his bottling network, adding market after market across India and even expanding to Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The recipe to a successful franchiser-franchisee relationship is in both parties working with commitment for each other’s growth. For win-win collaboration, both must listen with open minds and refrain from inflexible ideas, processes or notions.

CK Jaipuria

Chairman and Managing Director, Pearl Drinks Limited & Pearl Beverages Limited

He has been associated with PepsiCo since 1992 and has seen the business grow through thick and thin. CK Jaipuria fondly shares anecdotes from his long association with brand Pepsi.

Bottling is a nuts and bolts business and you have to get involved in the details. It does require capital and influence, but most importantly, it requires bottling wisdom from someone to get into the details and ensure that the route runs daily. On the momentous occasion of PepsiCo’s 25 years in India, we really admire the company and wish it well — God bless PepsiCo!

Surya Kant Jaipuria

Chairman and Managing Director, SMV Beverages Pvt Ltd

SKJ fondly recalls how he chased Ravi Dhariwal to express his desire to bottle for PepsiCo when it entered the Indian market. Having been in the business for a while, he pointed out that the company would need 4 drinks to counter competition, especially a mango drink! The team laboured for three days and came up with what we now know as Slice.

I love the PepsiCo brands and they are doing exceedingly well across the central India market. On the momentous occasion of PepsiCo’s silver jubilee or 25 years in India, we should go all out with the Pepsi passion to beat the competition and gun for more than 50 percent share of the market.

Key Customers

Hum hain PepsiCo

Celebrating the 25 years of PepsiCo in India, the company launched the PepsiCo Anthem, which has been sung and performed by PepsiCo India employees along with Dr. Palash Sen. Click here to listen to the “Hum Hain PepsiCo”.