In 1995, PepsiCo had acquired the Duke's brand of beverages, which were a part of the company's portfolio in the western Indian market before it withdrew them in 2004 to focus on national scale aerated drinks like Pepsi and Mirinda.
The company has launched all four of those beverages it had pulled out of the market in 2004, as a nod to the fact that fizzy drinks are still making the best business bet in the Indian beverages market.
Sanjay Mishra, executive director-west market unit at PepsiCo, told FoodNavigator-Asia that the company has already launched Duke’s Raspberry and will next launch Gingerade, Masala Soda, Raspberry and Ice Cream Soda.
“Currently we are launching the brand in Mumbai and basis our learning here, we will take a decision on expansion,” he said.
Mishra said that PepsiCo has been able to achieve its aims with the national brands and that the company felt that it was the right time to identify region specific opportunities and give them the right kind of focus.
He added that in the current market, the relaunch of these brands would strengthen the company's regional presence in Mumbai, which has always had a strong base of loyalists who cherish these flavour.
At the time it first pulled the brands, PepsiCo retained only Duke's Lemonade, a lemon fizzy drink, which competes with the Limca brand of a similar drink that is owned by Coca Cola India.
A distributor for both aerated and non-aerated beverages in the city of Mumbai, who requested anonymity, told this publication that Duke's Lemonade consistently sells as much if not outsells Limca in the Mumbai market.
“Duke's [cold drinks] have a traditional base of loyalists in Mumbai. When kids enter stores, they ask for Lemonade in Mumbai when looking for a lemon fizzy drink. This is unlike northern India, where they may ask for Limca,” he said.
He added that while he could not say whether the relaunched drinks would have buyers in the rest of India, there would be a base for these beverages in Mumbai, where the demographic loves these flavors.