Kerala takes the fizz out of Coke & Pepsi
Though the Rs 300-crore Kerala market accounts for only 5% of the 500-million cases of carbonated beverages sold in India, it is the first state to ban both production and sale of colas. The industry fears this can trigger a similar ban by other states. Delhi, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have either banned sale of colas in and near educational institutions or at government offices and establishments. Tamil Nadu said it would ban the drinks only if the Centre banned it.
The move is a severe setback for cola majors that are still grappling with allegations of pesticide contents in the carbonated beverages sold by them in India. The ban also means cancellation of licences of Coke’s Plachimada plant and Pepsi’s plant at Kanjikode. The fate of the stocks in the plant and in the distribution chain is unclear. The withdrawal of licences is also likely to hit the production of their mineral water brands - Kinley and Aquafina.
Both Coca-Cola and Pepsi did not comment on the issue but the Indian Soft Drinks Manufacturers’ Association—of which both are members—said its products manufactured in India met every safety standard set by food, health and regulatory bodies in India and abroad.
The ban covers all prominent brands sold by
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