Pullela Gopichand soon after his 2001 All-England championship had declined to endorse a cola brand. He was not ready to go against his belief – Colas are injurious to health. Now, 17-years later Sachin Tendulkar ties up with cola brand Pepsico for a drink that’s FOR OUR BETTER HEALTH.
In first-of-its-kind deal for Sachin Tendulkar and the Purchase, NY-based global consumer company, the two have agreed to produce a raft of nutrition-focused food products and beverages. Liquefy Innovations LLP, the firm promoted by Sachin, would get a licence fee as part of the long-term arrangement, which would harness Tendulkar’s vast cricketing experience and PepsiCo’s product-development capabilities to build a range of healthy products, reports Economic Times.
Apart from Tendulkar, other partners in Liquefy Innovations are entrepreneurs Narayanswami Sundararajan Lalgudi and Mohammed Abdul Rahman Siddiqi, according to the information available on the company’s Web site. The firm was set up in October 2013.
“This is the first such partnership for PepsiCo here. It will leverage both PepsiCo’s global patented technologies and manufacturing capabilities, and Sachin’s nutrition-related expertise that he has gathered during his cricketing career,” PepsiCo India’s chairman D Shivakumar is quoted as saying by ET.
The scope of the parternship could extend beyond India’s shores. “PepsiCo and Sachin’s company will jointly develop a pipeline of nutrition-based products. He (Sachin) will bring in critical inputs in the areas of fitness, hydration and research and development of nutrition-based foods and beverages,” PepsiCo VP (nutrition) Deepika Warrier told ET.
The 43-year-old Tendulkar, among the world’s most famous cricketers and one of India’s biggest brand icon, has moved beyond traditional brand endorsements, and begun to invest in new ventures and startups. Last year, he made his first investment in Smarton, a technology startup that makes smart devices. Some of Tendulkar’s other investments include the India Super League’s Kochi soccer team, Sachin’s and Tendulkar’s chain of restaurants, a franchisee arrangement with the International Premier Tennis League, travel portal Musafir, and entertainment and sports zones Smaaash.
The PepsiCo-Tendulkar partnership dovetails into the US firm’s global initiatives toward building a range of healthy products amid a shift in consumer preference toward less sugary drinks, and low-salt snack-foods.
Last year, PepsiCo announced a series of sweeping global commitments to fortify its foods and beverages with nutrition, pledging simultaneously to significantly reduce sugar and salt contents in its products. The first of the products developed jointly by PepsiCo and Tendulkar – the grain-based, fibre-fortified Quaker Oats Milk – will hit the shopping shelves soon.
“It marks our foray into the value-added dairy segment and addresses the healthy morning space. We are looking at targeted nutrition and this takes forward our portfolio-nutrition commitment,” Warrier said.
PepsiCo said the product uses the patented global ‘soluOats’ technology to blend milk with the oats. “This product addresses the nutrition needs of the millennials who are hard-pressed for time, and those of the young Indian consumer,” she said.
Early last year, Coca-Cola India had entered the dairy segment with the launch of the Vio milk drink. With cola sales under pressure as consumers look for more functional, ‘healthier’ drinks, both PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have been hedging risks and widening their portfolios to include juices, flavoured water, tea and dairy. While Quaker is a global brand, PepsiCo said India is one of the first markets where the company would introduce the Quaker Oats Milk.
This is PepsiCo’s third launch in 2017 under its nutrition banner: The other two are Tropicana Essentials fruit and vegetable fortified juices, and ready-to-cook Quaker Nutri Foods breakfast options, such as idli and dosa mixes.