Global cola giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi are in for big trouble in Tamil Nadu with majority of the retail traders deciding to stop selling their beverages, thanks to Jallikattu and the resultant ire against PETA, an American animal rights organisation. The two major trade associations in the state which controls the retail trade, have asked their members not to sell carbonated beverage products manufactured by Pepsi and Coca-Cola.
While the Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangankalin Peramaippu has said they will be stopping the sale of Pepsi and Coca-Cola products from March 1, the Tamil Nadu Traders Federation will stop the sale from January 26.
Taking cue from the recent successful youth and college students movement against PETA on Jallikattu issue, the Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangankalin Peramaippu, the largest traders outfit in the state with 21 lakh members under its fold, has decided to seek ban on multinational beverage majors such as Coke and Pepsi effective March 1, 2017 on the possible healthcare problems.
The traders’ body at its meeting has asked the member traders to stop selling beverages of Coke and Pepsi effective March 1. Towards this, the members have been advised to take up vigorous campaign and awareness programme on the imminent healthcare problems by drinking beverages of Coke and Pepsi across nooks and corners of Tamil Nadu.
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It has decided to rope in school and college students to take up the issue in a mass movement effectively February 1 for a month and will seek ban on selling both the companies beverage products in Tamil Nadu effective March 1. The traders body has already roped in number of doctors, healthcare specialists to explain the common public on the possible healthcare problems by drinking coke and pepsi branded beverage products.
Speaking to FE, AM Vikrama Raja, president, Tamilnadu Vanigar Sangankalin Peramaippu, said: “We took this issue way back in 1998 but we were not successful due to lack of public support. The just ended mass movement by the college students against PETA on the Jallikattu issue has given us enough ammunition to take on the multinational beverage companies and we have decided to seek ban on Coke and Pepsi beverages in Tamil Nadu on health issue . At the same time, we want to promote domestic beverage brands in a big way. There were some instances of students and youths protest against these two brands in Tamil Nadu. We want to capitalise on the success of Jallikattu, in the case of Coke and Pepsi too.”
Though there are no exact details on the sales front, sources here pointed out that it could be a R8,000 crore to R10,000 crore business annually.
Vellaiyan, head of the Tamilnadu Traders Federation, told FE that they have been against the sale of these products for quite sometime as it affected the business of the small-scale industries in the state. “Now, with so many youngsters joining force against these companies, especially with the recent Jallikatttu mass movement and the PETA band demand, I feel this is the right time to stop the sale of these products,” he said.
According to him, the multinational companies have destroyed the domestic brands and it is time to help revive the home-made ones.
“There are 6,000 smaller associations which come under our Federation. We are asking members not to sell it. Many reports have found that such products contain pesticides and are poisonous to one’s health. During the Jallikattu protest, we saw many youngsters talking against foreign products, and we figured out that we have public support,” he said. Responses from Pepsi Co and Coca-Cola were not immediately available.